America's declining image is driving away tourists, according to the Discover America Partnership, an organization sponsored by the tourism industry. "We have lost nearly 60 million international travelers since 9/11 and the problem is only getting worse," said DAP Executive Director Geoff Freeman. "As travel around the world skyrockets, the U.S. is mired in a slump." Government figures show that overseas travel to the U.S.
"All the surveys we have done shows that the biggest hasbara," or public diplomacy, "problem that Israel has is with males from the age of 18 - 35," said David Saranga, Israel's media and public affairs point person at its New York consulate. "In order to change their perception of Israel as only a land of conflict, we want to present to them an Israel that interests them," he added. So the "beer 'n' babes magazine Maxim" is sending photographers to Israel, for a photo shoot of attractive Israeli women.
Elias Buchwald, a founder of Burson Marsteller, recently ran a four-day training session for 17 high-level Israeli spokespersons from government agencies. The session was organized by 5W Public Relations, the American Jewish Congress and the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. public diplomacy chief Karen Hughes and the Public Relations Coalition held a "Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy" on January 9 and 10. PR executive Richard Edelman suggested de-politicizing the U.S. image. "Take it away from the part of the media that covers politics," he counseled.
"When the word 'Israel' is said outside its borders, we want it to invoke not fighting or soldiers, but a place that is desirable to visit and invest in, a place that preserves democratic ideals while struggling to exist," said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, during a September meeting with "public relations executives, branding specialists and diplomats" in Tel Aviv.