General view of Tel Aviv beach.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Tourism to Israel in October, though higher than a year ago after Operation Protective Edge, has not returned to the levels seen before the summer war with Gaza.
New data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics Monday showed that the number of tourist nights spent in hotels in October (roughly 948,000) was 21 percent lower than it was two years prior (1.2 million), but 16 % higher than it was last year (818,000), immediately in the war’s aftermath.
“A comparison to 2013 shows us that the situation is still not back to normal for the previous period, which was before Protective Edge,” said Noaz Bar Nir, CEO of the Israel Hotel Association.
Though research from the Bank of Israel estimates that it takes about a year for tourism to recover after a war in Israel, the monthly data on tourist nights in hotel indicates 2013 levels have not yet been matched a single time during 2015.
Part of the reason may be the latest wave of Palestinian attacks which may be deterring tourist visits.
Some hotel owners have blamed alternative accommodations such as Airbnb for the drop in hotel stays though CBS data suggest that is not the case.
While hotel stays were down 2% in the first ten months of 2015 in comparison with the same period in 2014, the number of tourist entries fell by 4% at the same time. Those figures suggest that tourists who are visiting are staying longer and utilizing more hotel rooms.
Bar Nir argued that better marketing would help change the trend, “certainly in light of the fact that the whole world today experiences terrorism, and we are no longer outliers in that regard.”