Global hoteliers, entrepreneurs and senior representatives from international tourism chains gathered in Tel Aviv on Tuesday for the inaugural Israel Hotel Investment Summit.Attracted by record-breaking incoming tourism expected to top 4,000,000 visitors in 2019 and opportunities presented by a shortage of accommodation for tourists to Israel, tourism leaders were provided with an analysis of foreign investment opportunities in Israel’s hospitality sector. “Let’s do business,” Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin told the audience, presenting a range of incentives and simplified regulations for businesses seeking to enter the local market.“For the first time in Israel, we have gathered in one place property owners, investors, hoteliers and representatives of hotel chains. This, with the sole purpose of promoting the rapid establishment of thousands of hotel rooms throughout the country,” Levin said.“Israel is at the height of a tremendous momentum in tourism. We have already surpassed the number of tourists who arrived during all of 2017.”Record rates of tourism have translated into approximately NIS 18 billion in revenue since January, according to Tourism Ministry data.Levin told conference-goers that the almost 40% increase in tourism in two years was due to unprecedented government investment in marketing Israel around the world, the adoption of advanced innovative marketing methods, and extensive cooperation with both tourism agents and dozens of airlines from around the world.“Year to date, supply is outpacing demand in Israel leading to a small occupancy decline,” Thomas Emanuel, director at global hotel industry consultant STR, told The Jerusalem Post. “However, demand is still increasing so more rooms are being sold year-on-year and hoteliers are increasing rates, which is leading to healthy revenue per available room growth.”According to STR data, more than 7,500 hotel rooms are currently in the pipeline across the country, including over 2,000 rooms in Tel Aviv - a 26.2% increase in the city's existing supply. Rooms in Jerusalem are currently contracted to increase by 14%, in Haifa by over 50% and in Eilat by almost 6%. Countrywide room occupancy rates stand at 70.1% this year.“The growth in tourism that is happening is very positive but there is a lack of supply, which is being addressed by Airbnb and the shared economy,” Gal Mor, co-owner of Abraham Hostels and Tours, told the Post.“Israeli tourism used to be very group based, but we’re seeing a strong growth in independent tourism. We believe in a much more social travel focus. Fewer people traveling by themselves or with their partners alone, and more people traveling to meet other travelers and locals,” said Mor.