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Tourism To Israel

Israel wants more tourists, lacks hotel rooms

Adam Gonn  Feb 10, 2010

The Israel Minister of Tourism aims to increase both the number of tourists and the length of their stay but industry leaders worry that Israel lacks rooms.

Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov told Israel's yearly tourism fair in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that while tourism figures were rising, Israel hopes to increase the number of annual visitors to five million by 2015.

“This January we saw an increase in the number of incoming tourists by 62% compared to January 2009, or an increase by 17% compared to January 2008,” said Misezhnikov, pointing out that 2008 was a record year for Israeli tourism. “We aim to raise the number by an additional one million in the next three years.”

Israel currently receives about three million visitors per year.

But Ayelet Shimroni, Director of the Incoming Tourism Division at Fattal, Israel’s largest hotel chain, more hotel rooms will be needed to meet the target.

“In order to meet the goal of the minister we need more rooms,” she told The Media Line. “It goes in waves, parts of the year there is more demand and in other parts of the year there is a demand in Tel Aviv.”

Israel Hayat, general Manager of Caesars Hotel Chain, which has a total of 650 rooms at three hotels in Israel, told The Media Line that at the moment there are enough rooms.

While building more hotel rooms is one way of dealing with the problem, the Department for Rural Tourism at the Israeli Ministry of Tourism has come up with a different strategy.

Wail Khayof, director of the Rural Tourism department of at Israel’s tourism ministry, said a new project called Israel Bed & Breakfast might be a way forward.

“We are trying to encourage tourists to come and visit us in the villages and to enjoy the rural environment in Israel,” he told The Media Line. “We are trying to replace the hotel rooms… We have a very serious problem in Israel with the (lack of) hotel rooms.”

Khayof said that rooms set to be used in the new project already exist and argued that it will benefit both rural establishments and guests.

Israel wants more tourists, lacks hotel rooms
Tel Aviv, Israel / Image via


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