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Israel lures Russian tourists with beauty pageant


     The final of the "Miss Russian Tourism" pageant was held in Eilat this week as part of Israel's efforts to attract more Russian tourists. Out of more than 300 women who competed in the first of its kind beauty pageant, which was sponsored by the Tourism Ministry, 25 made it to the final round. The contestants, aged 18 to 30, all work in the tourism industry. The semi-finals were held in March as part of a tourism fair in Moscow. Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, who served as one of the judges, drew harsh criticism for posting a Facebook photo in which he poses with one of the contestants.

     The 13 finalists landed in Eilat on Sunday, along with a large number of Russian reporters, cameramen and make-up artists. A special video showing the contestants at various locations, including the Dead Sea and Jerusalem, was aired in Russia in order to boost tourism to Israel. 

     The final was held on Tuesday at Eilat's Princess Hotel. The winner, Svetlana Dubovenko, was awarded a diamond ring and a week-long stay at an Isrotel hotel. On Wednesday she was invited to swim with sharks at the Underwater Observatory Marine Park.


Russian beauties in Eilat (Photo: Yair Sagi)
Svetlana Dubovenko

SOURCE: Ynet News, 4/29/2012

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