With the assistance of the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Golan Economic Society’s Tourism Division, Jerusalem Santa Issa Annis Kassissieh filmed his Christmas greetings video in the Golan Heights, in Northern Israel. With its holy sites and breath-taking views of the Sea of Galilee, it plays the perfect backdrop to this year’s Christmas video, which will be distributed worldwide in December.
Issa Anis Kassissieh, who is the official Ambassador of the Holy Land Santa, is a graduate of the CWH Santa Claus School in Michigan, USA. He began his career 15 years ago as the Jerusalem Santa and has served as the official Ambassador of the Holy Land Santa for the last six years.
Issa chose to shoot this year’s Christmas greeting at the Golan Heights because of its unique topography which combines rivers and water sources, orchards and vineyards, hiking and biking, breath-taking views over the Sea of Galilee and holy sites. Issa is looking forward to returning to the Golan Heights soon to enjoy the snow-covered landscape in the winter.
Santa’s journey to filming this year’s video began at sunrise on a kayak in the Jordan River, carrying his Christmas tree and presents, followed by a stroll through the citrus and almond orchards typical of the Golan landscapes. Santa also met up with four-time British Tour de France winner Chris Froome and fellow team members of the Israel Start-up Nation Professional Cycling Team, who are currently touring Israel. Issa ended his day at the Kursi National Park, the biblical site of the Miracle of the (Gadarene) Swine. There, as the sun set overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Issa spread his message of love, peace and joy to the children of the Golan Heights.
Israel Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov: “Promoting religious tourism to the Holy Land around the world is one of my most important missions as Minister of Tourism. Religious tourism builds bridges between people and countries, strengthens our international and diplomatic relationships and represents an important anchor for incoming tourism. The Israel Ministry of Tourism will continue to invest significant resources and efforts in maintaining, improving and making accessible tourist sites that are significant for all faiths for tourists from around the world.”
Manager, Tourism Division, Golan Economic Society Limor Portal: “We are proud and pleased that the Ambassador for the Holy Land Santa chose to film his Christmas greetings video in the beautiful Golan Heights. This stunning area, with its breath-taking views and unique sites, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from around the world. We are excited about the re-opening of Israel’s skies and the return of incoming tourism. Israel is a religious and tourism destination for more than two billion Christians around the world, and we are sure that this Christmas greetings video, with its views of the Golan, will encourage them to visit and add the Golan heritage sites, promenades and produce to their Israel vacation experience.”