Israel needs to develop its hotel rooms and infrastructure to attract more tourists

Published on : Thursday, August 9, 2018

IsraelThe global tourist industry is growing by leaps and bounds. The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest in the world, with a direct turnover of $2.3 trillion in 2016. This was inclusive of accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions.


Worldwide, the travel and tourism industry has experienced steady growth almost every year. International tourist arrivals increased from 528 million in 2005 to 1.25 billion in 2015. By 2030, this number is expected to grow to 1.8 billion.

Global tourism is a mammoth industry; however, many countries like Israel are lagging behind. In 2017, the number of incoming tourists to Israel amounted to 3.6 million. This was an all-time record for the country, with an annual increase of approximately 15%. However, compared to other tourist destinations like Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, these are insignificant figures. Among the incoming figures in Israel, some 1.5 million tourists were family-related and one million were business travelers. Bona fide tourists amounted to only 1.1 million.

Amir Hayek, president of the Israel Hotel Association said, “Potentially, Israel is the classic tourist destination. We have everything a tourist desires. Israel is very small place, but our geographical diversity is immense. We have a ski resort in the far North; forested mountains in the Galilee and the Judean Hills; golden beaches and azure seas in central Israel; wide desert plateaus and highlands in the South; and the Red Sea resort of Eilat.”


“In addition, it is an area saturated with historical and religious sites. There are biblical sites, such as the Temple Mount and the tomb of the matriarch Rachel; Christian shrines such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; and Islamic shrines such as al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock; not to mention the many attractions of a metropolitan seaside city such as Tel Aviv. With such assets, we should have many more millions of incoming tourists,” he added.

Hayek added that Israel needs a comprehensive policy to increase tourism. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin is doing a lot to increase tourism to Israel and is achieving results as well, but more is needed.

If Israel wants to increase tourism, it needs large investments – in roads, airports, public transportation, attractions and in hotels. New hotels are being opened all the time, especially in Tel Aviv, but these are mostly boutique hotels – mainly historical buildings that have been converted to hotels. So if Israel wants 10 million tourists a year, it must have much more in terms of hotels and infrastructure. Currently, the country has around 400 hotels, totaling 50,000 rooms.


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