253,800 tourists visited Israel in August, a 20% increase. There were 57,200 tourist entries from the US in August, 33% more than in August 2016. Tourist entries from Poland soared 60%.
2.3 million tourists entered Israel in January-August 2017, 24% more than the 1.8 million who entered during the corresponding period last year. The Ministry of Tourism estimates that incoming tourism has contributed $3.4 billion to the economy so far this year.
Israel Hotel Association figures show an average occupancy rate of 65%. Hotel prices in Israel are notoriously high, including for tourists. In order to bolster competition in the sector and increase the supply of medium-rated tourist hotels, the Ministry of Tourism is offering grants to developers wishing to build hotels.
The Ministry of Tourism reports a large increase in the number of developers seeking grants this year, especially for rooms at popular prices. Requests were submitted for construction of 5,245 rooms in 2017, compared with 2,895 rooms in 2015. The number of grant requests this year specifically for construction of lower priced rooms is 1,781, compared with 625 in 2015. Other measures include regulatory concessions applying to hoteliers, although there is still room for much improvement in this aspect, for example the levies and taxes paid by hotels all during the year.
Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin referred to his ministry's marketing and advertising policy, including grants to airlines operating routes to new destinations. These grants are also used to advertise Israel as a tourist destination, for example in Poland. Levin said, "This innovative marketing policy continues to prove itself, with new records in tourist traffic to Israel. The revolution in tourism to Israel is making an enormous contribution to the Israeli economy and employment. We are determined to continue on this path and lead tourism to Israel to new records."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on September 12, 2017
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