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
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.
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
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.
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