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TLV pulls out all stops to make Eurovision guests comfortable

10,000 expected tourists to enjoy volunteer guides and longer bar and restaurant hours

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

The City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is gearing up to host Eurovision 2019 in May, and it wants all the tourists to feel welcome.

The city has been seeking volunteers to assist the expected 10,000 tourists and journalists coming for the May 18 song contest.

The volunteers must be over the age of 17, speak English at a conversational level, and possess a passion and love for Tel Aviv, including knowledge of things like where to find the best hummus or the most scenic spots to take a selfie.

More than 1,500 potential volunteers have already applied, according to the municipality, but registration is still open.

The city is also offering customer service workshops to municipal workers, lifeguards, Carmel Market sellers and other locals who will come in contact with tourists.

The idea is to give the locals tools for non-verbal communication, in case English isn’t their strong suit, and knowing they’ll come into contact with tourists over the course of Eurovision week.

In a video taken of a recent municipal workshop with Tel Aviv lifeguards, one lifeguard was praised for his efforts in role-playing a situation with a tourist on the beach.

The Eurovision bus, created by the Dan bus company, will offer free bus tours of Tel Aviv during Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Tel Aviv on May 18, 2019 (Courtesy City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa)

“You’re the face of Tel Aviv,” he was told. “Eurovision is just a few hours long but for the rest of the time, they’ll be here at the beach. If you try to help, make sure their experience is good.”

The city is also preparing for longer nights at local bars and restaurants, allowing businesses to keep the music playing until midnight, rather than 11 p.m., in order for restaurant and bar owners to benefit from the wave of tourists.

“We want you to enjoy and benefit from the amazing wave of tourists that’s coming,” said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai during a nighttime conference with bar and restaurant owners.

In 2016, 1.14 million international overnight tourists visited Tel Aviv, according to the municipality. In 2018, that number rose to 1.85 million and in 2019 the number of international overnight tourists is expected to cross the two million mark.

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