With strong tourism numbers, hoteliers are banking on Israel

With tourism numbers continuing to rise, hoteliers are focused on multiple developments and openings, as well as renovating existing properties.

So far this year, the country has seen 1.9 million visitors, compared with 1.75 million during the same period in 2018. Last month, 440,000 tourists entered Israel, spurring an increase of 11.3 percent over the previous year, and a 26.8 percent increase compared with May 2017, according to data from the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

 "The May 2019 tourism statistics continue the consistent upward momentum and record-breaking trend in incoming tourism to Israel," stated Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

Toward this, several hotel groups are looking to capture the demand. Jordache Enterprises Group is expanding its hotel operations in Israel by debuting six hotels this year, opening three new four- and five-star hotels under the Herbert Samuel brand: the 162-room Milos Dead Sea Hotel, the 110-room Opera Tel Aviv Hotel and the 30-room Boutique Tel Aviv Hotel. Also, three hotels will open under the five-star Setai hotel brand. 

Isrotel also has plans to open 11 hotels in Israel, eight of which will be built by 2022. Five hotels will be in Tel Aviv, with others being built in Eilat, Jaffa, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and the Negev Desert. This will increase the number of hotels it operates in the State from 19 to 30 by 2025.

As previously reported, properties in the hotel company’s pipeline include the 154-guestroom North Yarkon Tel Aviv Port Hotel, slated to open in 2021. Slated to open in 2022 are: the 235-room Leon Towers; a 125-room luxury hotel in the former Shekem building on Jerusalem Blvd. in Jaffa; an 87-room, adaptive-reuse boutique hotel at Ahad Ha'am and Nahlat Binyamin Sts.; and a 122-room hotel at 99 Dizengoff. The latter hotel is part of a joint venture with White City Buildings.

Also coming in 2022 are the 250-room Zion Square hotel in Jerusalem and a 43-suite luxury hotel at Ein Bokek by the Dead Sea.

A 163-room Kedma hotel in Sde Boke is expected to open next year.

And, after some eight months of renovations, the Dan Caesarea Hotel has reopened. The hotel underwent a NIS 80 million renovation to attract a younger generation, according to the company, upgrading 116 rooms and suites, the lobby, dining room, event halls, spa, children’s club and public areas.

To help handle all the demand, Israel’s Transportation Ministry approved a NIS 3 billion expansion plan for Ben-Gurion Airport, expanding its Terminal 3 by 80,000 square meters, adding 90 new check-in counters, four baggage hall conveyor belts, and expanding immigration checkpoints and parking facilities. Plus, a fifth passenger concourse will be constructed to accommodate additional aircraft.

The expansion is geared toward allowing the airport to accommodate up to 30 million more passengers a year.

In addition, a new bus line will connect Ben-Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv hotels. Kavim has launched a public bus route, 445, which will operate 24 hours a day, Sunday through Thursday, to connect the airport and hotel areas. Stops will include Ben Yehuda St., Yehuda Halevi St., Menachem Begin St. and the railway complex.

And to keep hotels and other businesses connected, the Ministry of Tourism has introduced an interactive map of Israel that displays thousands of items of information, including hotels, attractions, restaurants and other accommodations options and is translated into 11 languages.