Tel Aviv and Jerusalem had the most tourist lodgings last year

"We may have missed utilizing Israel's main tourist attractions, which are Christian-audience oriented," commented Eli Gonen.

jerusalem tourist bus 88 (photo credit:)
jerusalem tourist bus 88
(photo credit: )
Almost 60 percent of tourists in 2007 stayed in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem hotels, the Israel Hotel Association reported Wednesday. Israelis, on the other hand, used hotels less and chose to vacation in Eilat (45%) and at the Dead Sea (14%). The association's economic department reported some 20.5 million overnight stays in 2007, up 6% from 2006. Tourists accounted for 41% of those stays - about 8.4 million bookings, a 23% increase from the previous year. Israelis booked about 12.1 million overnight stays, a 3% decrease from 2006. Hotel occupancy was 61.6% on average throughout 2007. Tel Aviv hotels had the highest occupancy at 73%. In the past year, the report showed, tourists preferred to lodge in Jerusalem, 2.9 million stays, a rise of 26%; and in Tel Aviv, 1.9 million stays, a rise of 24%. "Sixty percent of the overnight stays in 2007 were in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and were mainly businessmen," association president Eli Gonen said. "These data hint that we may have missed utilizing Israel's main tourist attractions, which are Christian-audience oriented. Israel should put more effort toward marketing those historical sites to the Christian tourists abroad, thereby increasing the number of employment opportunities," he said.