New development incentives to 'overhaul tourism industry'

The government approved a new map of preferred tourism development areas eligible for grants and benefits in an effort to attract investors and increase the number of tourists over the next 5 years.

By SHARON WROBEL
December 11, 2006 08:33
1 minute read.
lower galilee map 88 298

lower galilee map 88 298. (photo credit: Courtesy Photo)

 
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The government on Sunday approved a new map of preferred tourism development areas eligible for grants and benefits in an effort to attract investors and increase the number of tourists over the next five years. "The new development area map is an overhaul to the industry, which will enable us to focus our tourism development efforts on defined areas that will receive grants and benefits as part of the capital investment assistance program," said Tourism Minister, Isaac Herzog, who put the recommendations together with an inter-ministerial committee headed by Tourism Ministry Director-General Nachum Itzkovich. The committee made its recommendations, partly based on the recommendations outlined by a recently released report by consulting firm Ernst & Young that pointed to major changes, which if implemented, could more than double inbound tourism to 4.5 million by 2011. "The map will grant preference to a number of defined areas for a determined period of time to make full use of the tourism potential of those areas," said Herzog, who added that the essence of the decision was in the ability to identify areas or spaces, where new tourism initiatives and projects would be established. The new map for the preference development of tourism areas seeks to assist, improve and establish three tourism business categories, namely hotels, motels and tourist attractions. "The main idea behind the support of the new development areas is to give special attention to the assistance and development of minority areas and the periphery, in particular, through development areas for motels and tourist attractions," said Itzkovich. The development area map for hotels includes Haifa, Nazareth, Ramle, Jerusalem, the Negev and the beach front along the Mediterranean Sea such as Netanya, Ashdod and Ashkelon. The map does not include areas that already enjoy high popularity among tourists. The development area map for motels of up to 25 rooms focuses on the periphery, rural areas and the minority sector to give local residents the ability to build tourism projects, thereby creating local employment opportunities. The development area map for tourism attractions comprises large territories across the country. Attraction areas for development are focused among others on spaces which are within one kilometer from the seaside in the North and Haifa.

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