President of Israel Hotel Association explains how tourism can increase

President of Israel Hotel Association explains how tourism can increase

AMIR HAYEK: If you want to increase tourism, we are in need of large investments – in roads, airports, public transportation, attractions and, yes, in hotels.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The global tourist industry keeps growing by bounds and leaps. The tourism and travel industry is among the world’s largest, with a primary turnover of $2.3 trillion in 2016. This included accommodation, transportation, attractions and entertainment.

Worldwide, each year the has experienced steady growth almost. International tourist arrivals increased from 528 million in 2005 to at least one 1.25 billion in 2015. By 2030, this true number is likely to grow to at least one 1.8 billion.

Global tourism is really a huge industry, but Israel is lagging behind. In 2017, the real amount of incoming tourists amounted to 3.6 million. This is an all-time record for the national country, having an annual increase of around 15%. However, in comparison to other holiday destinations such as for example Spain, Italy, Turkey and greece, they are paltry figures. A rough break down of the incoming figures implies that some 1.5 million tourists were family-related and something million were business travelers. Real tourists amounted to only one 1.1 million.
In a talk to The Jerusalem Post, Amir Hayek, president of the Israel Hotel Association, agrees these are paltry figures.

“Potentially, Israel may be the classic tourist destination. We’ve everything a tourist desires. Israel is quite small place, but our geographical diversity is immense. A ski is had by us resort in the far North; forested mountains in the Galilee and the Judean Hills; golden azure and beaches seas in central Israel; wide desert highlands and plateaus in the South; and the Red Sea resort of Eilat,” he says.

“Furthermore, it really is an certain area saturated with historical and religious sites. You can find biblical sites, like the Temple Mount and the tomb of the matriarch Rachel; Christian shrines including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; and Islamic shrines such as for example al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock; not forgetting the countless attractions of a metropolitan seaside city such as for example Tel Aviv. With such assets, we ought to have a lot more an incredible number of incoming tourists,” he asserts.many


We require a comprehensive policy to improve tourism. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin does a whole lot to improve tourism to Israel and is achieving results, but we are looking for more. For a while, we should increase tourism to an annual five million at the very least. In the long run, we have to aim at 10 million plus.

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Isn’t a very steep, unrealistic even, figure? It amounts to a lot more compared to the population of the national country.

No, why? In 2016, Greece had 24.8 million tourists – a lot more than its population of 11 million twice. Spain had 75.6 million tourists as against a population of 46.4 million; while France, with a population of 65 million, had 82.6 million tourists. This is why, an annual 10 million tourists in a national country of 8.5 million isn’t something unusual. On today’s global tourist scene, it isn’t a figure that’s unattainable.per year

If you need to reach 10 million tourist, you will need vast investments, in accommodation especially. No hotels, no tourism. But I don’t see entrepreneurs rushing to purchase new hotels.

Yes, if you want to increase tourism, we have been looking for large investments – in roads, airports, public transportation, attractions and, yes, in hotels. New hotels are increasingly being opened all of the right time, in Tel Aviv especially, but they are boutique hotels &ndash mostly; historical buildings which were changed into hotels mainly. Per year but if we wish 10 million tourists, we should have a lot more. Currently, we’ve some 400 hotels, totaling 50,000 rooms.million tourists would require 100

Ten,000 rooms. Nevertheless, investors are apprehensive about buying hotels. They cost a whole bundle to build, and investors desire to ensure their investment.

The global tourist industry is probably the world’s best. Israel includes a complete lot choosing it, nonetheless it faces a whole large amount of competition. Current tourism is leisure tourism – the three S’s tourism of sea, sand and sun. Therefore tourists tend to be more interested in having a great time than in the classical tourism of visiting historical or religious sites and even scenic spots. Tourists arrived at see such sites and natural splendor spots still, but as something additional to presenting an excellent SSS time mostly.

From a religious and historical aspect, we have been unique; but being an SSS destination, a whole lot is had by us of competition, such as for example Spain and the Canary Islands, Turkey and greece. You want to compete, but we ask the national government to permit us to compete on fair terms. Currently, hotels in Israel are competing on unfair footing in regards to the global leisure tourist market. We operate under regulations that induce large overheads, rendering it problematic for local hotels to compete.

The national government regulates just how hotels are administered. This consists of factors such as for example security and kashrut arrangements. The national government should remove many of these regulations; otherwise, the leisure tourist market in this national country won’t grow.

In this context, I wish to refer to the issue of Airbnb &ndash also; private apartments which are rented to tourists. No objection is had by me to Airbnb therefore, but I object to the truth that while hotels are regulated strongly, Airbnb can perform whatever they like. While we pay taxes, both municipal and national, including VAT, they pay almost nothing. We know of individuals who’ve rented numerous apartments on a long-term basis and so are renting those apartments to tourists every day for large profits. We demand these Airbnb [rentals] be regulated just as or in similar ways because they are regulated in cities such as for example Berlin, Rome and london. And which includes paying taxes.

Is this a widespread problem?

Very widespread. In Tel Aviv alone, there are 10 approximately,000 apartments designed for rental to tourists. You can find only 9,000 resort rooms in Tel Aviv, to help you understand that it is a huge problem for all of us.

The true amount of incoming tourists is very much indeed influenced by the security situation. As president of the Israel Hotel Association, are you experiencing a say with this presssing issue?

I most surely have a say in this matter. It really is true that the amount of tourists which come to Israel is very much indeed influenced by the security situation. Consequently, in addition, it includes a bearing on the willingness of entrepreneurs to purchase hotels. But it is a state matter essentially, a matter of peace and war.

What we wish from hawaii is a back-up that will compensate the if you find a reduction in the amount of incoming tourists because of deterioration in the security situation.

I desire to point out that problem has been alleviated to a certain degree. When bombs set off in the streets of London, Paris, Rome or berlin, the problem in Tel Jerusalem or Aviv seems less abnormal.

Most of the incoming tourists are from North and Europe America. Think about encouraging tourism from china and taiwan generally and China specifically? You’re aware that in 2017 surely, the Chinese spent more on overseas tourism than any nation.

Currently, the incoming tourism to Israel is weighted and only Europe and THE UNITED STATES heavily. The Tourism Ministry is busy promoting tourism from East Asia and especially from China. As president of the Israel Hotel Association, I’m all for this, but we should adapt ourselves to the requirements of the Chinese tourist. Which means that we must provide you with the necessary preferred entertainment facilities; and there’s a dependence on Chinese-speaking guides, Chinese-speaking staff in the hotels and Chinese-oriented cuisine.

But most importantly, the lender of Israel must approve the initial payment methods that prevail in China.

Increasing incoming tourism shall require outlays of billions. This money ought to be better committed to other sectors perhaps, such as for example hi-tech or agriculture.

I strongly think that large investments in the tourist industry generally and in hotels specifically will yield excellent returns. We have been today’s economy, and modern economies are diversified. Modern Western economies are service-oriented also, and tourism is really a ongoing service.

Tourism yields good dividends, both political and economic. Tourism generates an annual turnover of over NIS 20 billion. Also it employs 200 approximately,000 people, which 42,000 are used in hotels directly.

And tourism promotes Israel. Every satisfied tourist is a great ambassador. It’s the best PR possible. And when you will find a national country that’s looking for good PR, it’s Israel.

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