Local hotel industry registers 4.2 million overnights in 1Q

This was a 11 percent increase in comparison to the same period last year, the Israel Hotels Association reported.

hotel good 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
hotel good 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
About 4.2 million nights were booked in Israel's hotels during the first three months of 2008, a growth of 11 percent in comparison to the same period last year, the Israel Hotels Association reported Tuesday. A growth of 37 percent was reported in the 53% of stays booked by foreign tourists, while the domestic tourism industry saw a decline of 8%. The average occupancy of hotel rooms during these three months reached 58%, an increase of 15%. "The growth in the number of entering tourists to Israel is a result of the focused marketing campaign the tourism ministry conducted in North America," Israel Hotels Association CEO Shmuel Tzurel said. "We can see the campaign's positive affects in the increase of overnights in hotels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberias and in the Galilee." "Alongside the encouraging reports, the average occupancy of Israel's hotels hasn't reached 60%, indicating that there is a long road ahead of us in terms of bringing Israelis back to Israel's hotels," he added. Tzurel said the hotel industry's profits have suffered due to the weakening of the dollar, particularly since most contracts were signed with tourist operators abroad months ago, when the dollar exchange rate was above NIS 4. Almost 60% of tourists' overnight stays during the first quarter were in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the report said; 834,000 overnights were in Jerusalem, a growth of 42%; 420,000 were in Tel Aviv, a growth of 25%. The highest growth was in Tiberias, which improved 76% to 179,000 overnights. The number of overnights also increased at the Dead Sea (102,000, up 58%), Netanya (60,000, up 44%), Haifa (65,000, up 35%), at kibbutzim (146,000, up 28%), in Eilat (236,000, up 26%) and in Herzliya (36,000, up 10%). About 1.98 million Israelis stayed in local hotels during the first quarter. A decrease in the number of Israelis' overnights was reported everywhere, except for Herzliya and kibbutzim. Hotel occupancy was the highest in Tel Aviv (71%), Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (both 68%), Herzliya (63%), kibbutzim and in Tiberias (both 55%), and in Eilat and Netanya (both 50%). During March, the number of overnights grew 8% to 1.66 million; 940,000 were by tourists, up 40% compared to last March; 718,000 were by Israelis, down 16%. Guest rooms occupancy was 65% on average, compared to 57% last March. Jerusalem hotels had the highest occupancy rate this March, at 80%; Tel Aviv's hotels had a 76% rate.