Merry Chrismukkah! Israel Tourism ringing in 2020 with new hotels and flights
The festive season is here, and with Hanukkah and Christmas overlapping this year, travelers are sure to have a memorable experience when visiting Israel during the holidays.
This year, Jerusalem’s Old City will host its annual Christmas Market, creating a festive atmosphere with lights and decorations that the whole family will enjoy. The alleyways of the Old City will be filled with decorations, Christmas trees and even Santa’s House. In Tel Aviv, the city will host its annual Christmas Market in Jaffa with live entertainment and a Christmas Day Parade.
A variety of Hanukkah tours will also be available, taking guests on a Menorah-lit path through the streets of Nachlaot and Old City Jerusalem. Those taking the two-hour tour will visit the Jaffa Gate, Jewish Quarter alleyways, the golden menorah, the Western Wall and the official Jerusalem Hanukkah Menorah.
New this Christmas season are the free shuttles between Jerusalem and Bethlehem provided by the Israel Ministry of Tourism on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The destination is expecting to see more than 165,000 faithful travelers from around the world visiting these cities for religious pilgrimages. The complimentary buses will take travelers from Jerusalem to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
With increasing tourism numbers throughout 2019, Israel is developing new tourism offerings, hotel openings, meetings and incentive programs, and increased flights that travelers can look forward to.
FREE SATURDAY BUS SERVICE IN TEL AVIV
• Tel Aviv launched a free Saturday bus service during the Sabbath to allow tourists and visitors easy transportation throughout the city, when previously there was no public transportation on this day. The new weekend transportation network connects the adjacent cities of Ramat HaSharon, Giv’atayim and Kiryat Ono with Tel Aviv-Yafo.
HOTEL OPENINGS AND RENOVATIONS
• The Israel Ministry of Tourism has created an urban camping site in Jerusalem, allowing tourists and locals an overnight camping experience overlooking the Old City, beginning in Spring 2020. As the first camping site in the capital, it is walking distance from the First Station Compound, City of David and the Western Wall. In preparation for the opening, the Peace Forest underwent restoration and infrastructure updates to create new paths, lighting and electricity infrastructure, toilets, observation points, recreation facilities and picnic tables.
• Mandarin Oriental plans to build a new hotel and residences in Tel Aviv by the end of 2023. The hotel will feature 225 rooms, 44 of which will be suites, five restaurants and bars, outdoor pool, pool club, fitness center and its signature Spa at Mandarin Oriental. In addition, the residences will feature 230 units with dedicated facilities and access to all hotel amenities. The property will be built on a spectacular waterfront property located close to the city’s vibrant restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
• Nobu Tel Aviv is scheduled to open in 2020 on Rothschild Boulevard, a central location for travelers to experience the area’s bike paths, dining, shopping and theater. The hotel will feature 38 rooms, a large garden, fitness center, pool and private rooftop, in addition to its iconic Nobu restaurant.
• Hotel group MEININGER announced its first hotel in Israel, scheduled to open in 2024 in Tel Aviv. The hotel will combine the best features of a hotel and hostel, offering 210 rooms with a range of two-to-six beds per room.
• The much-anticipated reopening of Mizpe Hayamim Hotel in the Galilee, part of the Isrotel chain, is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Renovations have taken place from the ground up, including its rooms, suites and world-renowned spa. Travelers will especially love the hotel’s diverse organic farm, which supplies its farm-to-table restaurant concept.
• Isrotel will open the 163-room Kedma Hotel in Sde Boker in 2020. The hotel will offer an oasis for families and tourists looking to discover Israel’s exciting Negev Desert. The hotel will feature an authentic Israeli restaurant, a spa with a Turkish bath, fitness room and outdoor lounge areas.
• easyHotel, easyJet’s low-cost hotel brand has announced its plans to open three hotels and a total of 667 rooms in Tel Aviv by 2022.
• In May 2020, Delta Airlines will double their flights from JFK to TLV from daily to twice daily.
• In 2020, El Al Airlines will increase the frequency of their flights from Toronto from three times a week to five times a week. In addition, Air Canada has already increased their frequency to six flights a week from Toronto showing the strength and value of the Canadian market.