The Israeli Ministry of Tourism has launched its second Hackathon, a competition spearheaded by the ministry’s Information Systems, Digital and New Media Division designed to develop tourism applications for mobile devices.
“We expect the hackathon to motivate startups to develop significant and innovative applications for tourists,” Tourism Ministry spokeswomen Anat Shihor-Aronson and Michal Gerstler told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “Those applications are part of Israel’s digital identity and make up the infrastructure that supports tourists when they plan out how to tour Israel.”
“The project is part of the ministry’s efforts to promote innovation and to diversify and improve the tourist experience in Israel,” they explained.
The ministry set up a tourism information database on its website to help with the development of the applications. The database allows any business to be included in accordance with certain criteria and lists hotels, bed and breakfasts, trails, tour guides, and the like. The index was launched in Hebrew and in English, but will be translated into other languages later in the future.
A total of ten Hackathon participants will be selected by November, 2016 to take part in the upcoming 23rd Innovation Conference at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, (IMTM) which will be held on February 7-8, 2017 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
The IMTM is a professional trade exhibition of the Israeli tourism market. According to the IMTM website, the conference “features exhibitors representing just about every aspect of Israel’s tourism market, alongside a significant number of exhibitors from overseas. The fair is highlighted by professional workshops, seminars, and press conferences”.
Israeli and global tourism industry leaders will serve as judges in the competition, alongside Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will present the prize to the winning team.
Shihor-Aronson and Gerstler informed TPS that “while the development of the application has obvious advantages in that it can serve a larger target audience, it is also important in that it can serve the Israeli consumer and has the ability to rekindle a love for Israel among Israeli youth in general and among computer programmers in particular.”
The top three finalists will receive cash prizes of NIS 10,000, NIS 5,000, and NIS 2,500, respectively.
By Ilana Messika/TPS – Tazpit News Agency