In August 2016, the peak month of the tourist year, hotel occupancy in Israel was 67%, according to figures published today by the Israel Hotel Association.
Hotel overnights in Israel totaled 2.4 million in August, including 610,000 foreign tourist overnights, down 15% compared with August 2015, and 27% more than in August 2014 during Operation Protective Edge.
The number of Israeli overnights totaled 1.76 million in August, down 4%, compared with August last year.
Using combined figures for July-August in order to eliminate the effect of the three-week mourning period before the Tisha B'Av fast, which was on August 14 this year, the number of foreign tourist overnights during these months was 1.28 million, 7% less than July-August 2015, 19% more than in July-August 2014 (Operation Protective Edge), and 18% less than in July-August 2013.
Hotel occupancy in July-August was 67%, 4% less than in July-August 2015.
Where did the foreign tourists stay?
Where did tourists stay in Israel in August? Many of them - 212,000 - stayed in Tel Aviv hotels, 17% fewer than in the corresponding period in the preceding year. There were 134,000 tourist overnights in West Jerusalem, 18% fewer than in the corresponding period in 2015; 37,000 in Netanya; 36,000 in Tiberias and the vicinity of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee); and 23,000 in Eilat - 33% fewer than in the corresponding period last year.
Israel Hotel Association CEO Noaz Bar-Nir said, "The figures speak for themselves. Both incoming and internal tourism have been declining in Jerusalem for a very long time, and Tel Aviv joined the pattern this month. We hope that there is a turnaround in the trend as a result of the Ministry of Tourism's marketing efforts, after the Minister of Tourism obtained the largest ever marketing budget."
Where did the Israelis stay?
As expected, Eilat had the strongest showing in Israeli overnights in August with 773,000, 5% fewer than in August 2015. There were 226,000 Israel overnights in Tiberias and the vicinity of the Kinneret, also a 5% decline; 132,000 in West Jerusalem (down 14%); 79,000 in Tel Aviv (down 20%); and 38,000 in Haifa. In Netanya, where several hotels were recently opened, there were 30,000 Israeli overnights, 33% more than in August 2015, and the number of Israeli overnights in Herzliya jumped 80% to 30,000, also due to newly opened hotels. Another destination with an increase in internal tourism was Nazareth, with 25,000 Israeli overnights, 46% more than in August last year.
Hotel occupancy was affected by the three-week pre-Tisha B'Av mourning period, which ended only in mid-August this year, preventing many from vacationing before that. Another factor was the growth in those traveling overseas. Hotel occupancy rates were 84% in Eilat, 70% at the Dead Sea, 68% in Netanya, 71% in Haifa, 68% in Tel Aviv, 64% in Tiberias and the vicinity of the Kinneret, 63% in Herzliya, 50% in Nazareth, and 49% in West Jerusalem.
There were 51,736 available hotel rooms in August 2016, 3% more than in August 2015.
Foreign tourist and Israeli overnights totaled 14.7 million in January-August, consisting of 5.4 million tourism overnights (the same as last year) and 9.3 million Israeli overnights, also unchanged.
Hotel occupancy in January-August was 61%, the same as in the corresponding period last year, 4% less than in 2014, and 5% less than in 2013.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 22, 2016
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