Incoming tourism yet to recover from 2014 Gaza war


March 2016 hotel overnights were 29% fewer than in March 2014.

The average hotel occupancy rate in March was 58%, according to a publication by the Israel Hotel Association. The Hotel Association compared the March 2016 figures with those from March 2015 and March 2014, four months before the beginning of the incoming tourism crisis caused by Operation Protective Edge.

The figures show that while the crisis has eased slightly, in comparison with 2015, there are still Israeli cities in which hotel occupancy is 50% or less, including Jerusalem, Tiberias, Netanya, and Nazareth.

Hotel overnights totaled 1.6 million in March, including 705,000 tourist overnights, 5% more than in March 2015, but 29% less than in March 2014; and 917,000 Israeli overnights, 6% more than in March 2015 and 28% more than in March 2014.

Where are the tourists staying? Despite the security situation, Jerusalem is still the number one destination for most tourists, with nearly 30% staying in Jerusalem hotels, down 4%, compared with 2015, and 35%, compared with 2014. Jerusalem was followed by Tel Aviv with 175,000 overnights, the same number as in March 2015; Eilat with 83,000 overnights, 63% more than last year, 40,000 overnights at the Dead Sea; and 16,000 overnights in Herzliya, which has more hotel rooms than it did last year.

Hotel Association head Noaz Bar-Nir said, "The crisis in tourism is continuing. We see a dramatic 29% drop in tourist overnights in March, compared with 2014. The Ministry of Tourism has done nice things to restore incoming tourism to Eilat to its previous level. We hope that the Ministry of Tourism, which is responsible for marketing the country, will take additional effective measures to rebuild incoming tourism, with the help of the best marketing budgets we have ever seen."

Many Israeli tourists are also visiting Eilat. 416,000 overnights were posted in Eilat, 135,000 at the Dead Sea, 60,000 in Tel Aviv, and 55,000 in Tiberias. All of these figures are larger than in March 2015, but Israel overnights have fallen in many cities in comparison with March 2014, including Jerusalem, Tiberias, Netanya, and Nazareth.

The hotel occupancy rate was 72% at the Dead Sea, 67% in Tel Aviv and Eilat, 60% in Haifa, 50% in Jerusalem and Herzliya, 44% in Netanya, and 36% in Nazareth. As of the end of the first quarter of 2016, Israel had 51,061 available hotel rooms.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on April 19, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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