August figures show rise in incoming visitors

A drop in local tourism was registered despite hotel stays increasing, according to new figures.

Hotel stays this August increased among foreign visitors compared to last year but decreased among local guests, according to figures released by The Israel Hotel Association on Tuesday.
There were 2.4 million hotel stays during the month, indicating a boost of two percent from August 2009, said the press release.
Average hotel occupancy during the month stood at 75%, a 5% rise from last year. A total of 849,000 foreign tourists stayed in Israel’s hotels during August – an 11% increase from last year – but only 1.58 million stays were registered by Israelis, marking a 3% decrease in this segment.
On a geographical spread, marked increases were registered in Haifa, totalling 19,000 stays with a 24% increase, and in Tiberias, which showed a 22% increase with a total of 37,000 nightly stays.
Jerusalem stays rose by 17% with 258,000 guests, while the Dead Sea showed an 11% increase at 36,000 stays.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv marked a modest rise of 9% with 267,000 stays in August.
Drops in nightly stays were registered in Herzliya (8%), Netanya (2%) and Eilat (1%).
In the first eight months of 2010, Israeli hotels hosted a total of 14.5 million nightly stays, representing a 10% increase from the same period in 2009. The numbers indicate a 25% increase in foreign tourist stays, but no increase in stays by Israelis.
Average occupancy for the period stood at 65%, a 12% increase from last year.
“We conclude the month of August 2010 with a measure of satisfaction because of the continued rise in nightly stays by foreign tourists,” said Israel Hotel Association director general Shmuel Zurel.
“The relative stability in the number of stays by local tourists is also encouraging.
In general we are entering the last quarter of 2010 on a positive footing and it appears that we will be able to close the gap, as far as foreign tourists are concerned, with 2008, the record holding year, from 95 to four to 5%. If this trend continues, the winter marketing campaign that the Tourism Ministry recently announced will have come at a perfect time.”
“During the month of August, the hotel industry employed more than 33,000 workers and most hotels registered a shortage of available workers. From this we learn that tourism’s contribution to market and labor growth reached record levels this year,” Zurel added.
Tourism Minister Stas Miseznikov attributed the tourism industry’s recovery over the last year to marketing activities that have been employed in order to increase the number of foreign visitors.
On Monday, the minister announced a NIS 40m.winter marketing campaign aimed at bringing in tourists from abroad.
Tourism Ministry officials and industry representatives attended the opening of the Top Resa Tourism fair in Paris, France, on Tuesday.
The Israelis unveiled a new Israeli tourism booth that will serve Israeli representatives in all international tourism fairs and trade shows in the upcoming months.
The booth extends across 200 square meters and highlights Israel’s historical, cultural and religious attractions, while showcasing modern Israel.
Tourism agents will travel with the booth all across the world, attending tourism fairs in Poland, Japan, Brazil, England, China, Spain, Germany, Russia and many other countries.