Jerusalem hotel occupancy 250.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem is naturally one of Israel’s central tourist attractions, and tourism
is observably one of the most important growth engines in the city. Mayor Nir
Barkat has set a most ambitious goal of attracting 10 million tourists to
Several efforts are being carried out simultaneously
in an attempt to meet this goal. The municipality’s tourism budget has been
significantly increased, tourist services are being upgraded, permits were
granted allowing the construction of thousands of new hotel rooms, a marketing
and public relations program is being drafted, and the number of cultural, music
and art events is being increased.
The decade that has just ended was
uneven, to say the least, for Jerusalem’s tourism industry.
The year 2000
brought a record-high number of tourists to the city, until the outbreak of the
second intifada in that September, after which the number of tourists visiting
the city dropped dramatically. The gradual improvement in the security situation
during subsequent years and the eventual near-elimination of terrorist attacks
allowed tourism volumes to inch back up. By 2008, tourism in Jerusalem had
exceeded the previous record, set in 2000.
While numbers waned slightly
in 2009, Jerusalem’s tourism scene bounced back in 2010. During the first six
months of 2010, some 650,000 guests spent the night at Jerusalem’s many tourist
hotels – 28 percent above 2009 figures.
The good news is that most of the
increase in the number of visitors who stayed at a hotel was due to foreigners,
the number of which increased by 40%, compared with a modest 2% increase in the
number of Israelis who stayed the night at one of Jerusalem’s hotels.
number of room nights sold in Jerusalem in 2010 also spiked, reaching 1,920,000
during the first six months of the year. These figures demonstrate a 31%
increase over the comparable time period in 2009.
The ratio of room
nights sold to foreigners compared with those sold to domestic tourists was 86%
to 14%. Perhaps not surprisingly, the average number of nights foreigners spent
at a hotel was almost double that of Israeli travelers, with 3.3 nights compared