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Tourism Ministry slams poor standards at Eilat hotels

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Feb 14, 2008

A classified memorandum authored by the Tourism Ministry reveals that many hotels in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat are subject to extremely poor maintenance and sanitation, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

Tourism Ministry officials have recently carried out a large-scale inspection of Eilat hotels, and found that the sanitation standards in the flagship of Israeli tourist resorts leave much to be desired.

At the Red Sea hotel, for example, cockroaches were found in several locations in the building. Similarly, the Health Ministry will soon file a complaint against Magic Sunrise hotel, due to the poor sanitation standards in its main kitchen.

The document also reveals that overseas guests are often charged a much higher rate up to additional NIS 360 per night in some cases than their native Israeli counterparts.

Tourism Ministry Deputy Director-General Rafi Ben-Hur told Army Radio that many hotels fail to abide by a ministry directive that requires the listing of prices at all reception desks.

The list of poorly maintained hotels also includes Patio, Edomit, Princess and Shalom Plaza.

Eilat Hotels Association Chairman Shabi Shabtai told Army Radio that the results "came as no surprise. There are facilities in Eilat that don't deserve to be called hotels, and are under the Health Ministry's constant surveillance. We will work hard to fix all the flaws and pay due attention to every clause in the report."

Shabtai conceded that "there shouldn't be a price difference, but one should bear in mind that prices aren't similar anywhere in the country. During Passover, for example, tourists sometimes pay 50% less than Israelis."

"Despite all of the above," he concluded, "the hospitality standards in Eilat are among the highest in Israel, and the public shows its confidence in us 51% of Israelis visit Eilat hotels annually."

Dan Hotels commented that "the chain's policy is to offer flat rates. The differences are minute and stem from the type of packages purchased. In most cases, overseas tourists enjoy better rates."

Magic Sunrise and Red Sea hotels declined to comment.

haaretz.com

Tourism Ministry slams poor standards at Eilat hotels
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