How did cancelling LGBTQ+ pride parades impact Israel's economy?

It is estimated that a Pride parade tourist would spend an average of $245 per day spent in Israel, about 140% more than the average tourist.

Tel Aviv Pride Parade kicks off, 2019. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Tel Aviv Pride Parade kicks off, 2019.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
In June, LGBTQ+ pride parades were supposed to be held in several cities across the country, the most central and colorful of which is held in Tel Aviv. Last year, the Tel Aviv parade attracted a quarter of a million attendees. This year the 22nd parade had already been planned, but the novel coronavirus changed those plans.
The parade was canceled, and business owners, who were eagerly awaiting the tens of thousands of tourists coming into the "city that never stops" ahead of the parade, could not enjoy the large revenues they would receive from the crowds, especially from tourists.
LGBT organization Aguda released the "City Pride Index," which looked at which of the local authorities most favored the community's needs this past year. Not surprisingly, Tel Aviv is at the top of the index.
"We've been hearing about our pride events all over the world for quite a few years now, and a lot of tourists have started showing up, some LGBT, some not," says Itai Pinkas-Arad, a member of the Tel Aviv City Council on behalf of the Meretz party and who holds the LGBTQ+ community portfolio. 
"Close to 30,000 tourists would arrive in Tel Aviv about a week before the parade. These are people who come here to enjoy, eat, stroll around and hang out, and that has benefited many businesses: restaurants, hotels, shops and more. The pride parade is another thing the coronavirus has ruined, and tourism does not exist at all now."
"I hear from business owners in Tel Aviv how much they would wait for those who would come to the Pride parade, how they would feel it on the streets. These are not 30,000 tourists who would scatter all over the country. They would concentrate mainly in Tel Aviv, staying in Tel Aviv, eating in Tel Aviv. You would also see the business owners ’attempt to attract these guys. They would hang up pride flags at the entrances to their businesses. Every year they would wait for it."
What is expected this year?
"This year's events will be limited. Right now, because of the situation, we cannot have a parade. We will hold some events, some digital, while on June 28, rallies are planned in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheba and Haifa, in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines on public gatherings. We are planning a parade in late summer or early September, but that depends on the pandemic situation and future guidelines. These are things that can change in moments, and you can never really predict beforehand."
It is estimated that a pride parade tourist would spend an average of $245 per day spent in Israel, about 140% more than the average tourist. 
The tourists arriving for the parade had an immense buying force, enjoying both the city's hotels and short-term rental properties, including Airbnb. "About a week before the pride parade, our hotels in Tel Aviv were already packed to the brim with gay couples and groups," describes Leon Avigad, founder and owner of the Brown Hotel Collection.
"The hotels would become colorful and fun. Lots of commercial companies would also rent a space at the hotel and hold pride events for their employees. We would make special cocktail bars for Pride, and on the morning of the Pride parade we would make special breakfasts, and the hotel lobby would become a party lobby, with flags all around. These were two weeks of a fun carnival, and the entire city of Tel Aviv was decorated for the parade. It was a super-profitable period, the hotels were packed. These are also guests who like to spend money. "
How much is the color missing this year?
"It is sorely lacking. It is part of the depression of the coronavirus era. We want to return to hosting people. Meanwhile, there are no guests from abroad, no pride parade. We're hoping maybe the celebration will come back after the summer."
"This year there is no pride parade, but we did put out a special pride editions of masks in pride colors," says Alex Kaplan, Marketing Director of Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, a shopping center that tourists never skip. "We have two vending machines selling them. All the stock from the first order has already been sold, and more masks are expected soon." 
Kaplan said Dizengoff Center has always been a home for the LGBT community in Tel Aviv.
"It also got to be the first business in the State of Israel to brandish the Proud Note, which marks businesses that support the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for equality for customers and employees. This allows a lot of people withing the community, and not necessarily the Tel Aviv crowd, to come to the center and feel the comfortable here." 
"There are some stores that clearly target LGBT members, there is also a store manager who is a well-known and beloved figure within the community. The center's gym is also very loved by the LGBTQ+ community. Last year, for example, we inaugurated our first gender-free restrooms."
As part of the center's regular collaboration with the Tel Aviv municipality, we also allowed the Tel Aviv LGBTQ center to hold its events here, free of charge."
How badly will the parade be missed?
"First of all, we miss the parade because it is a celebration. We are looking for reasons to rejoice in Tel Aviv, and in this respect we have lost a cause for joy. This year it is especially sad that we are in a less-fun time because of the coronavirus, a time that is so difficult for business as well."
"One week before the parade, we would already see the presence of tourists arriving for the event," says Tamir Rafaeli, who has been running the "Goldman Courtyard" restaurant, located on the promenade on the border between the beaches of Jaffa and Tel Aviv for 18 years. "There was a crowd here from all over the world, we always knew to embrace and accept them. We would hang the pride flag. The big party of pride parades was always centered on the Charles Clore garden, and the parade participants would always head in our direction."
Translated from Maariv by Idan Zonshine.