Photo Credit: Dewayne Barkley, EuroVisionary via Wikimedia
Netta Barzilai, Israeli winner of Eurovision 2018

After debates, inspections, visits and tours, the decision is final: Tel Aviv will host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

The two semi-finals are set for May 14 and 16, with the grand finale scheduled for Saturday night, May 18.

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Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai celebrated the decision, saying his city is the ideal location for the competition.

“The Eurovision is a perfect fit for our city, which has been internationally acclaimed for its vibrant energy, creative spirit, its lively cultural scene and its celebration of freedom,” Huldai said Thursday. “We are looking forward to host a joyful and nonstop event, in the spirit of Tel Aviv-Yafo!”

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) selected Tel Aviv as “the most suitable host city” for the song contest after an extensive inspection and evaluation of the city’s amenities and facilities.

“We’d like to thank all the Israeli cities that bid to host the Eurovision song contest in 2019,” Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision, said in a video message.

“In the end we decided that Tel Aviv has the overall best setup to host the biggest entertainment show in the world. We are excited to bring the Eurovision song contest to a brand new city, and are looking forward to working together with ‘Kan’ to make 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest the most spectacular one yet.”

According to the agreement, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality will finance the venue – Pavilions 1 and 2 at EXPO Tel Aviv International Convention Center – where the three main events will take place, including two semi-finals and the final event to be broadcast live to millions of viewers around the world.

The municipality will also host additional events. They include the opening ceremony and red carpet event at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the official Eurovision Key Handover ceremony and semi-final allocation draw at the historic Town Hall on Bialik Square, and the world’s largest Eurovision Village on the Tel Aviv boardwalk overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, at Charles Clore Park.

At least 20,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Tel Aviv for the song contest, with an estimated NIS 100 million in direct revenue gained as a result.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.