The Abraham Hostels group is to open a branch in Eilat in the spring or summer of 2020. The chain already has three branches: one each in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nazareth. The branch in Eilat will replace the Be Unique Hotel. The building currently containing the hotel has been leased for 22 years to Abraham Hostels, and the property will undergo renovation.
Abraham Hostels founding partner and development strategy manager Gal Mor sees potential in the direct low-cost flights from Europe to Ramon Airport during the winter: 50 weekly flights aimed at encouraging winter tourism in Eilat. These flights take place between November and March. The airlines are given a substantial subsidy of €60 per passenger, and are exempt from airport fees at Ramon Airport. This grant is critical for continuation of the flights. On the other hand, a change in policy by the next minister of tourism is likely to have a dramatic effect on Eilat, which suffered a severe blow when Sde Dov Airport was closed down.
Mor is also aware of this. "The tourists coming on low-cost flights in the winter encounter an expensive product in Eilat. This is great for us. Our price, service, and content are exactly what these tourists want. The airport's location is far from the city, and the city of Eilat is not in a position to maintain winter tourism without this subsidy. It will be a catastrophe for the city if it is canceled," Mor told "Globes."
85% of the guests at Abraham Hostels are tourists. In Eilat, where there is a major presence of Israeli tourists all year round, this figure is likely to change. "We're located next to the central bus station, and we appeal to a part of the population that relies on public transport. In considering whether to be on the side of the hotels and tourism on the eastern side or on the southern beach, we chose a location close to the local neighborhoods and businesses, and to be a cultural center through which we can also connect the tourists and give them access to the community. We're not a resort; we're an urban brand. Eilat's urbanism is different from that of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, but there is something to work with and something to develop and promote," says Mor.
The Eilat branch will have 100 rooms with 450 beds. 60 of the rooms are private rooms with varying level of hosting, including family rooms, while the rest are in dormitory format, with 4-12 beds per room. Activity will take place in public spaces, "where the emphasis is and where guests are given motivation to avoid being stuck all day in a room," Mor says.
Prices are similar to Abraham Hostels' other branches: NIS 300-500 per night for a private room, including breakfast, and NIS 80-140 for a bed in an accessorized room. Family rooms will cost NIS 400-700 a night, depending on the season.
The group plans to continue its expansion. It is now searching for a property at the Dead Sea. "Even though there is no urban center, we believe in this area," Mor says. The group also wants to open another property in Jerusalem.
As in Abraham Hostels' other branches, the Eilat hostel will feature tours and trips appealing to independent tourists, whose numbers are growing worldwide. The guests can take trips to central Israel, Jordan, Sinai, and Egypt.
With 450 beds, the Eilat branch will be the chain's largest, followed by 400 in Tel Aviv, 280 in Jerusalem, and 50 beds in 15 room in Nazareth. The Bridges impact fund recently became a partner in the Abraham Hostels and Tours group.
Abraham Hostels was represented in the deal by Adv. Roy Harash and Adv. Roi Sasson of the Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. law firm.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 21, 2019
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