The International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM), said to be the largest tourism fair in the Middle East, is now underway at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.

The conference is a meet-up for tourism professionals from around the world and also a prime showcase for technological breakthroughs and startups with the latest innovation in the field of tourism.

“The challenges for the tourism industry grow every year, but, at the same time, so do the opportunities. Israel will continue to develop the tourism industry and I am convinced that, with innovation and creativity, we will achieve results that will improve the tourist experience in Israel and will expose the country as an attractive tourism destination,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

For the first time, directors of the Israel Government Tourist Offices overseas will participate in the conference via video-conferencing, each presenting the marketing activities and market data for the country in which they operate.

The conference is also hosting a 24-hour hackathon, in which 15 groups are competing to develop the best new tourism apps.

Some examples of Smart Tourism Apps that were made in Tel Aviv that will exhibit at the event include: Sidekix (helps you make the most of each walk by personalizing your route based on what you want to see or do along the way); Eatwith (a global community that lets you enjoy authentic and intimate dining at a local’s home); LocalYoo (enables you to explore your destination from the local perspective); Jettaplus (an online marketplace that allows travelers to trade their non-refundable plane tickets and get paid by people who look for cheap flights); Roomer (connects travelers that have to cancel and who are stuck paying for an empty hotel room with the travelers looking for a last minute deal); FairFly (enables travelers who’ve already purchased an airline ticket to rebook their ticket when a better priced option becomes available); Bossee (provides a fast way to build an itinerary around the schedule of business travelers in order to create a unique experience); Booksonmap (connects between book quotes and places on the map where they took place); Dotz (connects between those countless Dotz that make a city: parks, restaurants, galleries, shows, cool spots & amazing people); and Kiki (platform for the international gay community combining a designated social network with upscale tourism and exclusive nightlife packages).