Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat, is set to become a center of sporting activity after the Ministerial Committee on Development of the Negev and the Galilee approved on Monday almost NIS 50 million worth of funding to build the first stage of a new sports complex.

The complex, when completed, will help Eilat bid to host major international events while providing local athletes with quality facilities in which to train.

“This is a strategic step in the development of Eilat as an international sporting city,” said Minister of Culture and Sport, Limor Livnat.

“The building of the complex is an example of the use of sports to boost a city by strengthening its economy and tourism.”

In recent years Eilat has hosted the Triathlon European Championships as well as tennis’ Fed Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I games both in 2012 and 2013.

The project’s budget will be split between the governmental ministries (NIS 17 million) the Toto (NIS 20 million) and the Eilat municipality (NIS 12 million).

“Sporting events have a massive tourism potential,” explained Silvan Shalom, Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee. “This decision will result in investments in infrastructure and will allow Eilat to make a leap forward.”

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