Ministry to present plan to reduce cost of tourism

Tourism Ministry to tackle vacationing costs with new regulations easing building requirements for hotel developers.

By
October 28, 2012 19:48
2 minute read.
Israelis and tourists at Tel Aviv beach

Israelis and tourists at Tel Aviv beach 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Havakuk Levison)

The Tourism Ministry announced on Sunday a plan to reduce the cost of vacationing in Israel, largely through easing the building requirements for hotel developers.

The ministry said it will soon publish a booklet on the new regulations, which it said will include the removal of the requirement that hotels build parking lots within their grounds, to expand hotel space.

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In addition, the booklet will include new regulations on the building of studio units and suites, which it said will give developers more options for hotel construction.

Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov (Yisrael Beytenu) said the plans represent “the first step in implementing the Tourism Ministry’s policy to reduce the cost of vacationing in Israel by 20 percent,” adding that such steps will attract more international hotel brands and encourage competition in the hospitality industry in Israel.

The press release on Sunday said that in order to bring more international hotel chains into the Israeli market, the ministry will allow for up to 50% expansion in room unit size and allow developers to devote 600 meters or up to 40% of their total area of their property to commercial space. It also stated plans to ease regulations on the construction of accommodation facilities in the rural tourism sector, in order to allow the use of pre-existing infrastructure such as sports facilities and dining rooms as part of the hotel grounds.

The government is expected to vote on the recommendations at the November 4 cabinet meeting.

In a recent position paper on the matter, the Israel Tourist and Travel Agents Association said that while it praises the government’s decision to examine ways to make travel in Israel cheaper, no progress can be expected unless there is large-scale construction of new hotel rooms in Israel.

“In recent years there has been a significant rise in tourism and the need for accommodation in Israel, as well as a resulting increase in costs for tourists,” the paper states, adding that “without a significant increase in the supply of hotels in the areas of demand in Israel at all different levels of hospitality, in particular on the 3- and 4-star levels, a reduction of costs for tourists will not be possible.”

The paper recommends the construction of no less than 12,000 to 15,000 new hotel rooms in the next five years to meet the demand, arguing that without such an effort, no reduction in tourist costs should be expected.


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