Actors and directors nominated for an Oscar this year will receive a voucher for a $55,000, all-expenses-paid trip to Israel as part of the $200,000 gift packaged typically awarded to Academy Award nominees.
Each voucher covers first-class flights and hotel accommodations for two people. According to The Daily Beast, which first reported the VIP trip to Israel, the celebrity visitors to the Jewish state can stay in hotels like the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem, which was recently ranked the seventh-best hotel in the world and the best in Middle East, and where a top suite costs as much as $2,000 a night.
The Tourism Ministry is cooperating with the American events company offering “gift bags” to Oscar nominees in the acting and directing categories at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony to take place at the end of this month.
“Let’s say $5,000 is the price for a business class ticket from LA. If they stay in a suite at a five-star hotel, be it the King David and Tel Aviv Hilton for $350 per person ($700 a night), it’s another $3,500. So we’re now at $17,000, leaving $38,000 to lavish on them during their stay,” Mark Feldman, CEO of the popular travel agency Ziontours in Jerusalem, told the Jerusalem Post.
“For that money it would have to include daily spas, helicopter flights throughout the country, gourmet meals every night, VIP tours at every tourism site in the country with the heads of those sites, from a personal tour of the Israel Museum, to a world-class archaeologist personally escorting them on Masada,” he said.
In fact, the voucher is more expensive than the 15-day walking tour of Japan ($45,000) that is also awarded in the Oscars gift package. Both country trips will be given to nominees along with $45,000 of Audi car rentals, $31,200-worth of skin cream supplies, several fitness and training packages totaling around $8,000, and more, according to The Daily Beast. This year’s Academy Awards will be held Feb. 28.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said, “These are the most senior people in the film industry in Hollywood and leading opinion-formers who we are interested in hosting here in Israel so that they will experience the country first hand and not through the media. If they do indeed accept the invitation, their visit will have enormous resonance among millions of fans and followers, including social media. The very fact that they are considering visiting Israel places the option in the public discourse in the social and professional circles in which the stars move.”
Among the nominees who could be touring in Tel Aviv or walking through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem – Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lawrence, Sylvester Stallone, Christian Bale and Kate Winslet.
By: JNS.org and Israeli Ministry of Tourism