Current News

The Market from Italy
“Italy ranked seventh in 2015 in the list of countries from which tourists visit Israel, down from sixth place the previous year,” reports Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) Director Avital Kotzer Adari. “Last year, 91,1745 visits from Italy were recorded - including 84,415 tourists (those remaining in the country for at least one overnight - a drop of 24 percent from 2014 and 34 percent lower than for 2013.” Tourism from Italy to Israel started out well in 2014, with six-month figures showing increases in visitors and tourists of six percent and 28 percent respectively, but it fell drastically due to the outbreak of Operation Protective Edge, Gaza that summer, followed by other events of a security nature. “In previous times, under similar circumstances, the market bounced back,” Kotzer Adari remarks, “it was different this time, perhaps because the economic crisis and a stronger dollar also played a role. Cruises stopped operating - Costa cancelled its port stops in Israel for a year, and MSC for 18 months, and cruises...

June 2016 Incoming Stats
According to statistics by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, about 245,000 people from abroad visited Israel in June 2016, a decrease of slightly more than 10 percent from June last year. Of the visitors arriving this past June, 236,300 were classified as bona fide tourists (those spending at least one overnight...

Dan Developments
“We believe in quality, not size, and we invest most of our resources in developing our products, improving levels of service, upgrading the properties we currently own and manage and maintaining our position as Israel’s leading chain of hotels,” explains Dan Hotels Corporation President & CEO Raffi Sadeh. “Nevertheless, I don’t know of a serious hotel that has been put on...

Israel’s First M Gallery by Sofitel - in Netanya
The David Tower M Gallery by Sofitel, Israel’s first Sofitel property and another sign that Accor is returning to Israel, opened early in June for a running-in period. It opened officially as a property managed by Sofitel, on the first of July. “Accor had a visible presence on the local hotel scene until about 10-11 years ago, when it liquidated most of its holdings...

J.IT. Tours & Travel and the St. George Hotel
Padeco Tourism, the holding company that owns the St. George Hotel in East Jerusalem as well as hotels in the Palestinian Authority, via its subsidiary, J.I.T. (Jerusalem Investment Tourism), has launched J.I.T. Tours & Travel, as a tool to market its properties. “J.I.T. Tours & Travel is basically a tour operator that is active only in marketing and promoting our...

Legacy Nazareth Opens
Years in the planning and construction, with a timetable disturbed by the discovery of an ancient burial plot underground, and bureaucratic encumbrances, the Legacy Nazareth Hotel, developed and managed by the Afifi Group (owners of Nazarene Tours, partners in the Gallery, Hotel Haifa and managers of the Jerusalem Legacy, in East Jerusalem) received its first guests...

Arcadia also in Arabic
Arcadia Hotels, which manages properties in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Tiberias, recently launched a website in Arabic. This is the first Arabic website for any hotel chain in Israel, an Arcadia spokesperson says. “This is part of a process we have been developing to make all the hotels in our chain accessible to various market segments,” explains...

Go Running Tours
Go Running Tours, based in Tel Aviv, offers visitors a variety of “sightrunning” options, both private and group, in the city. According to a Go Running spokesperson: “Running, sightseeing, sightrunning, sightjogging, running tours… there are many names for one of the newest sightseeing trends in the world’s metropolises, a combination of running and...

ITT in Israel
The annual conference of the (U.K.’s) Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) took place in Tel Aviv early in June, at the Tel Aviv Hilton. It was the first time in 22 years that the conference *was held in Israel. In addition to the sessions and evening events, participants were hosted to tours of Tel Aviv and excursions to the Dead Sea region and Jerusalem. Israel Travel News Ltd. served as ITT’s local media partner, and copies of the agent’s manual on Israel prepared for the conference by ITN, have been delivered to the Israel Government Tourist Office in London, to be used to help market Israel in the U.K. and Ireland. A digital copy of the publication is available via the conference site (http://www.itt.co.uk/conference2016/Highlights.php). Attendance This year’s roster of speakers, headed by the Rt. Hon. Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, included MPs, CEOs of large international corporations, among others, included a number...

May 2016 Incoming Stats
According to statistics by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), about 306,700 people from abroad visited Israel in May 2016, a decrease of slightly more than two percent from May last year. Of visitors arriving this past May, 297,300 were classified as bona fide tourists (those spending at least one overnight in the country), up from the 281,500 that arrived as tourists in May the previous year. About 31,200 crossed...

Budget Hotel Construction Incentives Authorized
The Government of Israel has approved a proposal by Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin to award an administrative grant of 13 percent of investment, to encourage the development of budget hotels This benefit will be in addition to a grant of 20 percent of the total investment for which hotels are eligible, based on the Law to Encourage Capital Investment, which offers grants ...

“Levin Law” Approved
The Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) has approved the national program to reduce vacationing costs in Israel, termed “The Levin Law” by a Ministry of Tourism spokesperson, after Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, who had proposed the law and spearheaded its passage. The main purposes of the new program, the spokesperson explains, is to significantly shorten and simplify procedures in the planning...

Judea & Samaria Hotel Construction Incentives
In mid-June, the government approved a proposal by Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin for the Ministry to proffer administrative grants to cover 20 percent of the costs of hotel construction in Judea and Samaria settlements (the West Bank). The grant will initially be equivalent to that given in areas within the Green Line - Israel’s pre-1967 borders - as they appear on the map...

Medical Tourism Law Proposed
The Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health have drafted a proposed new law that would redefine the scope and practices of medical tourism in the country, and the two ministries have circulated it, to obtain feedback, according to a joint press release issued by the two ministries. After the comments from the public and various ministries are received, the law will be submitted for consideration. “The number of people taking advantage...

Fattal’s NYX Opens in Tel Aviv
The Fattal Hotels Chain opened its latest property, the Nyx Hotel (which the chain has branded as NYX), on Menachem Begin Blvd., Tel Aviv, in mid-June, for a running-in period, based on a 30-year lease. “It is our chain’s first concept hotel,” states Ravit Raviv, general manager of the cluster of Tel Aviv properties that also includes the Leonardo Boutique in the Ramat Hahayal...

Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Update
“It’s different, and yet it’s familiar,” says David Tucker, comparing the position he took up early in May as director of sales & marketing at the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya and the work he did for the past 12 years selling and marketing Jerusalem’s Alrov Luxury Hotels. “To be sure, I’m continuing to work for a luxury...

White Villa Hotel Opens
The White Villa Hotel, located in Tel Aviv on Ben Zion Blvd. between Habima Square and Dizengoff Center, has been developed in a property constructed in the 1940s as a family residence in an architectural style reminiscent of Le Corbusier. A building marked for preservation, it was purchased by its current owners about five years ago and opened in May after being renovated...

El Al Honored again at Freddie Awards
El Al Israel Airlines has won a pair of Freddie Awards for its Matmid Frequent Flyer Club. ONE for the “Best Elite Program” (for premium tier membership) and another for “Best Promotion” (“huge discounts when exchanging Matmid points for tickets,” an airline spokesperson elaborates). “Nearly three million travelers from...

Tarbush Tours Tel Aviv Theatrical Walking Tours
Tarbush Tours, a company specializing in theatrical walking tours of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, has developed a number of different options, including itineraries that explore Neve Tzedek, Old Jaffa, the American Colony and Tel Aviv’s “Ahuzat Bayit” neighborhood (the city’s first). The guides are actors and comedians, and they relate the story of a neighborhood or area in a theatrical manner...

Saturday Public Transport in Herzliya, to Beaches
The city of Herzliya will operate free public transportation on Saturdays between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Buses will travel along the city’s main thoroughfares and make stops at hospitals, beaches and recreational areas. The buses will arrive at stations every 30 minutes, while a smaller, handicap-accessible bus will run once an hour.

Flo Shuttle to & from Ben Gurion
Flo Shuttle, a new airport shuttle service from and to Ben Gurion International Airport and Tel Aviv hotels, has started to operate with an hourly service in both directions, 24/7, a spokesperson for the company says. Service is on a pre-booked basis only. The company also offers private transfers from airport to city when booked in advance, as well as private transfers throughout Israel.

New Air Europa Madrid-Tel Aviv Frequency
Spanish airline Air Europa, which began operating three Madrid-Tel Aviv frequencies in March last year, has added a fourth on the route, a spokesperson for the carrier says. The new weekly flight departs from Madrid Sunday evening and from Tel Aviv the following morning.

Munich-Tel Aviv on Transavia
Dutch low-cost airline Transavia will begin direct flights from Munich to Tel Aviv in September 2016. Transavia, which already flies to Tel Aviv from Amsterdam, Paris and Lyon, will join El Al, Arkia, Tuifly, and Lufthansa in offering flights from Munich to Tel Aviv when they begin service with four weekly flights.

Rome-Tel Aviv on Vueling
Vueling, the European low-cost airline, is to launch direct flights from Rome to Tel Aviv starting in October 2016, with two flights a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci. As of now, Vueling will be the only low-cost airline offering flights between the two cities. The Wednesday flight is an afternoon from Rome, the Saturday flight departs in the morning.

News on the Market from Germany
Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) Director Uri Sharon reports “good results” from the German market to Israel for the first four months of 2016: about 62,000 visitors (including about 10,000 day visitors) for the January-April 2016 period, up 19 percent compared with the similar period for 2015 and an increase of two percent in bona fide tourism entries. As reported in ITN #380, TUIFly is entering the Israel market with two weekly Munich-Tel Aviv frequencies, making for a total of 80 direct flights by all the carriers, from six German airports. “The broad range of flights from Germany to Israel, including low-cost and those reaching Israel from Germany via intermediate cities, has resulted in competition and a drop in air fares,” Sharon explains. Promoting Israel IGTO, Germany continues to promote Israel to the local tourism Industry. About 1000 German agents have been certified by...

April Incoming Stats
According to figures by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), about 272,300 people from abroad visited Israel in April 2016, an improvement of slightly more than five percent on the March numbers this year, but down more than 12 percent from the 310,000-plus that visited the country in April 2015. Of visitors arriving this past April, 253,400 were...

Subsidizing Decision Makers
The Israel Ministry of Tourism is partnering with members of local tourism industries on a new project to attract travel agents, tour companies selling travel to Israel, tourism decision makers and religious leaders, to visit Israel and discover its unique attractions. The Ministry will subsidize 30 percent of flight...

Ministry Subsidies for Flights from New Destination Airports
Breaking with precedent, the Israel Ministry of Tourism has decided to participate in the marketing activities of flight operators opening routes between November 2016 and October 2017, into Ben Gurion International Airport from new destinations. The Ministry of Tourism is to invest ILS 50 million in this initiative, and estimates point to an increase of half a million incoming tourists...

Additional Camping Grounds Subsidies
After approving the establishment of five camping grounds in Israel in 2015, with a total capacity for 1500 beds, and allocating a budget of ILS 2.5 million for the project (see ITN #381), the Israel Ministry of Tourism is continuing to lend financial support for camping lot development this year as well, “… in order to encourage the establishment of additional camping...

Rimonim Eilat Renovated Family Rooms
The Rimonim chain has invested about ILS 5.5 million in renovating 44 family rooms for a couple plus two, in the Rimonim Eilat Hotel, and work has just been concluded in time for summer, reports a chain spokesperson. Half of these rooms have been outfitted with convertible sofas for the use of children, others have been equipped with a bed.

White House Hotel at Dizengoff Sq.
Situated in one of a pair of identical 1920s Bauhaus buildings facing one another on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Sq., the four-storey While House Hotel opened in April in space that served previously as a youth hostel, and as an apartment building prior to that. The totally renovated property features 25 rooms of different sizes: seven Classic rooms - 16-18 m²; 13 Superior rooms - 18-20 m², featuring a Bauhaus...

Golden Crown Haifa Opens
The Golden Crown Haifa, the third property to be managed by Israel’s Golden Crown Chain - and the first outside Nazareth - opened in March in Haifa’s German Colony, at the corner of Ben Gurion Blvd. and Jaffa St., as part of a commercial building that also features a small shopping center. About ILS 23 million were invested in transforming the space in this ...

Renaissance Tel Aviv Renovations
The Renaissance Tel Aviv has embarked on a new round of room renovations, starting with the seventh floor of the hotel, which has been totally dismantled and is being redesigned as a floor for business guests, reports General Manager Meir Keinan. “We’ll be developing all the rooms we will renovate, to a very high standard, with individually controlled air-conditioning...

Avia “Superior” Roms
After reopening about three years ago with 48 renovated rooms out of a full complement of 105 and then increasing the number of upgraded units to 55, the Avia Hotel, located in Yahud, about 2.5 km from Ben Gurion International Airport and a property developed in the 1960s as Israel’s first airport hotel, further upgraded 10 of the aforementioned 55 units about four...

Sindyanna of Galilee
Sindyanna of Galilee, located in Kfar Kana (the biblical Cana of the Galilee), less than a five-minute drive from the main road, was founded in 1996 as a joint Jewish-Arab NPO founded to empower local Arab women by training them in traditional handicrafts and promote fair trade and economic opportunities for them. Operating as an NPO, it channels all of the profits back...

The Paragon Group
Having started out as Dan Knassim in 1988, a professional conferences organizer founded by Ofer Gil and working with Israeli events primarily, the company transposed into the Paragon Group when Eyal Halevy, who worked at Kenes when it was expanding into Geneva, entered in partnership with Gil in 2006. It was founded on three basic principles, the partners state: To develop...

Facelift for Atarim Sq.
Tel Aviv’s Planning and Construction Committee has decided to recommend reconstructing Atarim Sq. In addition to redeveloping the seaside square, the plan calls for connecting the strip of beach there to Ben Gurion Blvd., and for the construction of three 36-storey towers featuring 340 apartments and 600 hotel rooms, and with an additional 5000 m² for public use. Developed in the 1970s and a central Tel Aviv nightspot then, Atarim Sq., comprising an area of 27,000 m², has grown dilapidated over the last two decades or so, despite an attempt in 2007 to start renovating it.

Nazareth Culinary Visits
The Nazareth Cultural & Tourism Association has joined with local culinary establishments specializing in local foods, that have opened their doors to visitors. One is a halva factory, another is a factory specializing in tahini and the third is a cafeteria specializing in local specialties like sahlep (known as sahleb locally) and kadaif. Tours of the first two must be booked in advance; tours of Divan Alsaraya, a confectioner, are available on Saturdays only.

“Salt of the Earth”
Better known as the site of a Crusader fortress (now off limits to the general public) and the Illegal Immigrant Detention Camp and current museum on the camp site that tells the story of the struggle of Jews fleeing Nazi Europe for British-controlled Palestine, only to be incarcerated in camps similar in appearance to those they had fled, the town of Atlit has a new tourism...

“Ruach Shtut”
A private enterprise located on the grounds of Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, west of Caesarea, “Ruach Shtut” (“The Spirit of Folly,” in English and a play on the Hebrew word “Tut,” which means Berry) is a tourism project on 1.25 acres of land; it was initiated about five years ago based on the cultivation, growth and control of strawberries - and also blackberries when...

Ramat Rachel Kibbutz Tours for Groups
Ramat Rachel Resort, located on Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, Jerusalem, has initiated a series of five different group tours, reports the hotel’s Director of Marketing Hillel Fine. The agricultural tour consists of a tour of the kibbutz’s 25-acre cherry orchard, where 17 types of cherries are cultivated, of its olive park, or beehives and honey collection houses. An archeological tour...

Israel Museum “Cradle of Christianity” Tour
“The Cradle of Christianity,” a new tour at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum, is based on a route through the museum’s collection that is of particular interest to Christian visitors. It offers them the opportunity to view archaeological artifacts that reflect the ancient scriptures, bringing to life the period of the Bible, the days of Jesus, and early Christianity in the Holy Land,” a museum...

IGTO, Mumbai Bangalore Workshops
The Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO), Mumbai organized a travel trade workshop early in January in Bangalore (Bengaluru), a city the IGTO has been identified as a key market for Israel for leisure and MICE business. The event, which opened with a destination presentation by IGTO, Mumbai Director Hassan Madeh and his staff, was followed by an open discussion. “Top-of-the-line travel professionals from Bengaluru attended and interacted with the IGTO team, to understand the unique offerings and to develop new products for Israel,” an IGTO spokesperson says. “Israel has been experiencing significant growth from the Indian market,” Madeh remarks, “and since Bengaluru is one of the mature markets in South India, we endeavor to consolidate Israel’s growing popularity...

March Incoming Stats
According to statistics by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), nearly 260,000 people from abroad visited Israel in March 2016, up more than 27 percent compared with the figure for February and slightly higher than the nearly 255,00 that visited the country in March 2015. Of visitors arriving this past March, 240,400 were...

Eilat Casinos Mooted Again
The first meeting of a governmental inter-office committee took place in November last year, to reexamine the possibility of establishing and regulating casinos in Eilat. Similar proposals were mooted a number of times in the past but were scuttled each time, with word being that this was always the result of government coalition considerations. Discussions at the meeting, called by...

Isrotel Purchases Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel
With the purchase of the Mizpe Hayamim Hotel in Rosh Pina, by Isrotel Ltd., the Isrotel Hotel Management Company will be managing its first Galilee property The chain paid ILS 103 million (plus VAT) for the property, which features 97 rooms and suites, a spa, restaurants and two shops. Mizpe Hayamim, developed as a hotel in 1966, stands on a 37.5-acre site with...

Club InterContinental Rooms at the InterContinental David Tel Aviv
“We are putting the very final touches on our latest round of renovations, upgrading the hotel’s 23-floor Presidential Suite and the rooms and corridors on floors 21-23 of the hotel, and rebranding the rooms and suites as Club InterContinental, and having learned from the work we did last year, when the rooms and the Presidential Suite of the 24th and 25th floors were redone to...

Tel Aviv Opera Tower to House a Hotel?
According to a report in local media outlet “Yediot Ahronot,” the Nakash Brothers Group, which owns and manages a of hotels in Israel, including the Orchid Park Plaza Tel Aviv and a property under development at the northern entrance to Jaffa, by the clock tower, has opened talks to convert Tel Aviv’s Opera Tower into a hotel. The company is interested in buying...

Carlton Meetings Floor Renovations
The Carlton Tel Aviv has completed a program of renovations that focused primarily on its meeting rooms floor. The renovations, carried out over a three-month period at a cost of about ILS four million, reveals General Manager Jimmy Zohar, consisted of a new electric system in throughout the halls and the installation of new air-conditioning systems, LED screens and lighting elements, new chairs, tables, flooring, carpets, and more. The WCs on this floor were renovated

Cu Cu Hotel Opens
Located on Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv, in a derelict building close by Dizengoff Circle, which the developers renovated and transformed into a 33-room property, the Cu Cu Hotel, opened about six months ago. The Cu Cu features three floors of rooms and three room categories: Classic and Classic Plus accommodations - 18m² units, with later featuring a balcony facing the side...

El Al Premium Classes Developments
El Al Israel Airlines is launching a series of new meal menus in Business Class, on flights departing from Israel. “The new meals combine culinary styles and tastes from throughout the world, with each highlighted via the dishes and complementary items,” an airline spokesperson says. The airline also is launching a new wines...

Ayit Rosh Pina-Eilat Flights
Ayit Aviation & Tourism, which has been operating Tel Aviv-Rosh Pina flights for the past eight years, has launched flights between Rosh Pina and Eilat. “The 80-minute flights stop at Dov Airfield, Tel Aviv, but this is only a temporary arrangement,” an airline spokesperson says. Future plans call for the airline to inaugurate flights...

Ryanair Bratislava-Eilat Frequencies
Low-cost airline Ryanair has announced a new Bratislava-Eilat route as part of its winter 2016 schedule. The flights from the Slovakian capital will be the airline’s fourth regularly scheduled service to the Israeli city, after the launch of three frequencies last year, from Budapest (Hungary), Kaunus (Lithuania) and Cracow (Poland). The new flights will be operated on a twice-weekly basis.

Wizz from Riga
Low-cost carrier Wizz Air has announced a new frequency, Riga, Latvia-Tel Aviv, scheduled to commence on 20 June. The flights will operate on a twice-weekly basis, Monday and Friday. Wizz Air also operates flights to Tel Aviv from Bucharest, Budapest, Katovice, Lviv, Prague, Sofia, Vilinius and Warsaw.

5 Hours, 3 Wineries & a Goat Farm
Excellent wine has become one of the important elements of the reputation Israel’s has been earning as a culinary mecca, and wine tourism in the country has been growing too in recent years, as established wineries with their visitors’ centers have been joined by a large and ever-growing number of boutique operations. These new wineries, small in size, usually focus...

International Stars Performing in Israel
As spring arrives, a number of international music stars have announced plans to perform in Israel in the coming months: U.K. singer-composer Sir Elton John, 26 May, Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv. South African rappers Die Antwoord, 8 June, Live Park Amphitheater, Rishon Lezion. U.S. musician, singer, songwriter...

Marketing Ramon
On a recent visit to the site of the Ilan & Assaf Ramon International Airport, now being constructed at Timna, north of Eilat and scheduled to be inaugurated in 2017 (see ITN #382), Israel Minister of Transport Israel Katz toured the new airport recently accompanied by a number of officials including Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) Director General Yaacov Ganot. Katz announced...

Hotel Check-in for Flights
Premium Check-in, which until recently offered flight check-in services in passenger’s homes, is expanding its operations to offer the same option to tourists staying in hotels. “It saves valuable time at the airport,” explains the company’s VP Services & Operations Liron Feldbau, “since tourists go directly to passport control. It’s best to book this service at least a week...

Flo Shuttle to & from Ben Gurion
Flo Shuttle, a new airport shuttle service from and to Ben Gurion International Airport and Tel Aviv hotels, has started to operate with an hourly service in both directions, 24/7, a spokesperson for the company says. Service is on a pre-booked basis only.

Facelift for Atarim Sq.
Tel Aviv’s Planning and Construction Committee has decided to recommend reconstructing Atarim Sq. In addition to redeveloping the seaside square, the plan calls for connecting the strip of beach there to Ben Gurion Blvd., and for the construction of three 36-storey towers featuring 340 apartments and 600 hotel rooms, and with an additional 5000 m² for public use. Developed in the 1970s and a central...

IMTM 2016
IMTM 2016, the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, was held on 9-10 February for the 22 time at the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center Tel Aviv. According to Ortra Ltd. and Israel Travel News Ltd. (publishers of Israel Travel News), organizers of the annual event, which filled Pavilion #1 at the Center with 1550 suppliers from close to 50 countries - the most ever - in 384 pavilions and stands, was attended by about 24,000 members of the general public, along with about 15,000 professional visitors from the tourism industry from Israel and abroad. Europe was represented by Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland (and Lapland), France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kirghizstan, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania,...

ITB Welcome
Dear Friends, ITB Berlin is the most important annual meeting place for the world’s tourism industry, with 1000 exhibitors from 180 countries and more than 180,000 visitors, including tourism professionals, media personnel and the public at large. Israel’s pavilion this year, as in the past, will be spacious, covering an area of 690 m². The Israel Ministry of Tourism is pleased that so many exhibitors...

Three Nights at the Dead Sea
II returned to the Dead Sea this past January (see ITN #381) to look at the progress being made there to upgrade the tourism area, and the beaches especially, about four years after the Government of Israel had approved an investment of ILS 833 million (more than $213 million at today’s rate of exchange), including ILS 265 million that would be earmarked for tourism...

Crowne Plaza Dead Sea Executive Lounge
The Crowne Plaza Dead Sea has developed a new executive lounge in an area of the reception level of the hotel that until recently housed three shops. “The shops did not generate very much revenue,” says hotel General Manager David Bernas, “so we decided to reconfigure this part of the hotel. We left part of the area as one shop and used the remaining space for...

Prima Spa Club Improvements
Twenty-eight new suites are planned for the Prima Spa Club Dead Sea, reports General Manager Yossi Sudri. Though plans call for them to be developed on grounds that are part of the Spa Club’s sister property adjacent to it, the Prima Oasis Dead Sea, these new units, between 50 m² and 70 m² in size, will be part of the spa property and guests booking them...

Improving the David Dead Sea
Developed as a Hyatt hotel in the 1980 and operating later as a Hilton property, the David Dead Sea came under ownership management in January 2014 after it was operated as the Fattal Hotels Chain’s Le Méridien Dead Sea for a number of years. “We started to renovate the property as soon as we took over,” reports Dudi Ashkenazi, general manager of Grand...

Ein Gedi Developments
About two years ago, the Ein Gedi Hotel on Kibbutz Ein Gedi inaugurated its Synergia Spa on the premises, comprising 12 treatment rooms (including one for couples), indoor swimming pool with Dead Sea water, dry sauna, Turkish hamam and a wide range of massages and treatments, “...with some, like a date wrap, that is unique to Ein Gedi,” mentions Incoming Tourism Sales...

Update on Elma
“We opened a bit more than a year ago and we’re developing as we should,” remarks David Ur, director of marketing & sales for the Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel, Zichron Ya’acov. “We believed that the atmosphere that is the result of the combination of hotel and our eclectic mix of arts and music, would give guests and meeting goers a special feeling, even those...

“Most Tranquil Spa” at the Mamilla Jerusalem
The Akasha Wellbeing Center at the Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem has been selected by Condé Nast Traveler as of one of “The Most Tranquil Spas in the World.” In bestowing this accolade on the facility the magazine said|: “[It] isn’t just about passively lying there on a massage table. There are classes in yoga and Pilates, a swimming pool, a ‘health bar’ stocked with fruits and juices, and, best of all, a deck for taking in the trademark Israeli desert sun.”

Hagoshrim Upgrading
Further to the report on Hagoshrim Hotel & Nature that appeared in ITN #377, the Upper Galilee kibbutz property has consolidated and announced its improvement plans for 2016, states General Manager Dudu Oz. ILS eight million have been earmarked to totally renovate and upgrade the hotel’s kitchen and the Haghoshrim Wing. The 16 rooms in the wing are being transformed...

Leonardo Beach Tel Aviv
The hotel known until now as the Leonardo Basel Tel Aviv has been rebranded as the Leonardo Beach Tel Aviv, reports a spokesperson for the Fattal Hotels Chain, which purchased the property in 2007 and has been managing it since then. The change is one of the stages of a process the chain is developing to focus on incoming tourists, the spokesperson adds.

Templers Boutique Hotel
Developed in two adjacent original late-19th-century Templar houses on Ben Gurion Blvd., in the heart of Haifa’s German Colony (where the Templars settled about 150 years ago), with the Fatoush Lebanese restaurant occupying the ground floor of one, the 13-room Templers Hotel will be expanding, with the addition of five new rooms, scheduled to be ready by this coming May, in space...

Post Hostel Opens
Situated in a building opposite the Jerusalem Municipality complex, which served in the past as Jerusalem’s Central Post Office, the Post Hostel opened last November with 32 rooms, for a four-month running-in period. It is the first of a series of similar projects, says Chief Managing Officer Rafi Tsalyuk. “We plan to open others, in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Tiberias.” “The Post is a high-level hostel, based on a model...

In Memoriam: Chuzi Amiel
Eliahu (Chuzi) Amiel, founder of Amiel Tours, passed away the first week of January 2016. He was 89 years old. Eulogizing him, Shmuel Marom, chairman of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association (IITOA) stated in his own name and that of the IITOA: “The activities of Chuzi Amiel, among the founders of Israel’s incoming tourism industry, symbolize more than anything else, initiative and ...

Eden Inn - New Lease on Life
Closed for a number of years, the Eden Inn, Zichron Ya’acov reopened three years ago after being purchased and renovated. “It was a place with a lot of potential,” remarks General Manager Stavit Avidar, who joined the property when it was bought but had known it before, since she had worked at another hotel in Zichron Ya’acov that belonged to the same chain that managed...

Al-Hakim Guesthouse
In his grandfather’s carpentry shop, in a family-owned stone building from the 1850s, Bassam Hakim has developed the Al-Hakim Guesthouse, featuring 10 rooms, all with a shower, on two floors, each unit different in configuration and style, in Bishop’s Square in the Old City of Nazareth, an area that has become Nazareth’s hostel and guesthouse center. The building stood empty...

Havaya Hotels
The Havaya Hotel Chain started to operate in Israel late last summer, with a property in Tiberias, Nazareth and Ashkelon. The latter, the Golden Tower Ashkelon (the former King Saul Hotel) a 105-room property the chain owner already possessed, works primarily with the local market and Birthright groups. The other two, the 182-room Havaya Plaza Nazareth (the former Nazareth Plaza,) located in...

New at Sheraton Tel Aviv
There is a new entrance to the Sheraton Tel Aviv’s Olive Leaf a la carte restaurant - and also a new Director of F&B for the hotel, Patrick Mudalige, who transferred to Tel Aviv after a stint as director of operations at the St. Regis in Venice. The new entrance, directly from the lobby of the hotel, was one stage of a program to reposition the restaurant, which also...

Isrotel Tower Renovations
Renovations have been carried out at the Isrotel Tower Tel Aviv, hotel General Manager Ofer Agami reports. “The hotel has been operating since 1997 - I also was working here then - but it was under Isrotel management only until two years ago, when the company also bought it, and we decided to invest in the property and upgrade it.” The focus of the investment was on the suites, and reconfiguring...

Ilan & Assaf Ramon International Airport, Timna
As reported in ITN #378, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) is moving full speed ahead on the construction of Ilan & Assaf Ramon Airport at Timna at a total investment in the neighborhood of ILS 1.7 billion. The project is being carried out by the IAA, a statutory body established in 1977 and tasked with the responsibility for developing and maintaining civilian airports in ...

North to South too on the Old City Ramparts
Access to the Ramparts Walk on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City has been offered till now from Jaffa Gate only, along either the northern ramparts to Lion’s Gate (with exit points at New Gate, Damascus Gate and Herod’s Gate too), or the southern ramparts, descending at Zion Gate. As of the beginning of March, visitors will have also been able to walk from North to South on the ramparts, says a spokesperson for East Jerusalem Development Corporation, in charge of the attraction. Walks in this direction will be permitted for groups for groups of 20+ pax when coordinated in advance.

Bikelife
Recently launched by licensed tour guide Duby Nevo, who was involved in motorcycle during the time he lived in Japan, Bikelife offers a variety of guided bike tours on nine new Yamaha 600 HP motorcycles, in a variety of regions in Israel. While his website - in English only, so far - is being fine-tuned and the programs is still being run in, Nevo participated in the...

Ministry Grants for Camping Development
The Ministry of Tourism’s Investment Committee has approved grants to establish five overnight camping lots, with an overall capacity of 1432 beds: Park Savir in the Central Arava; Kibbutz Beit Haemek in the Western Galilee; Ein Zivan on the Golan Heights; Ahuzat Hazan at Har Gilo, and on the Spice Route in the Negev. The total investment stands at ILS 10,736,000, with a Ministry investment grant of about 20 percent of the total figure. “The Ministry of Tourism is encouraging the establishment of overnight camping lots in order to promote budget tourism - accessible and affordable to all,” a spokesperson says.” Last year, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) improved camping lots and their infrastructure, with hot showers, barbecue areas and family picnic tables and started offering the opportunity to rent tents, mattresses etc. under its supervision. INPA also allowed for caravan parking in Eshkol Park, the Yehudiya Parking Lot and Hurshat Tal. An additional five lots will be made...

Incoming Tourism Statistics, 2015
(Please note that December 2015 statistics are estimates). While final statistics have yet to be tabulated, figures compiled by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics and released by the Israel Ministry of Tourism indicate that the number of visitors to Israel in 2015 is expected to...

Dead Sea Developments
Under the direction of its subsidiary, the Dead Sea Regional Enterprises Company, the Tamar Regional Council is in the process of renovating and upgrading the beaches in the area under its jurisdiction, as part of a government program announced in 2012, when allocations totaling ILS 833 million over a period of five years were approved, to develop the Dead...

Haifa Incoming
“It’s no secret that overnights by incoming guests were down in hotels all over Israel last year, by about 11 percent,” states Adi Maor, general manager of the Dan Hotels Corporation in the North (the Dan Carmel, Dan Panorama and Dan Gardens Haifa and the Dan Caesarea, which recently came under his aegis), a member of the board of directors of the Haifa Tourism Board...

Villa Carmel Improvements
Built originally in the 1940s as the Vered Hagalil Hotel a property considered to be one of Haifa’s most luxurious then, Villa Carmel opened in its new reincarnation in 2009, on a side street in the city’s Carmel district, after standing abandoned for a number of years. “It was a total renovation, though we salvaged what we could of the original interior - some stairways and...

Leonardo Inn Dead Sea Solarium Improvements
Renovations have been scheduled for the solarium at the Leonardo Inn, Dead Sea. New showers will be installed and the sunbeds and chairs are to be refurbished. In addition, a pathway from the hotel to the outdoor swimming pool is being paved, “for improved accessibility,” a hotel spokesperson says. Work is expected to begin in February and is expected to take a month or so to complete.

Kibbutz Degania B Accommodations & Tours
Degania B Country Lodging, which began operating in 1994 with 20 units - five building with four rooms each - has gone full circle, renovating all of these rooms about one year ago, the most recent round of improvements that saw it grow over the years to about 60 units, all with a kitchenette - with a total of nearly 200 beds. The multi-year renovations effort has included...

Monarch Manchester-Tel Aviv Flights
On the heels of its resuming flights between Luton (London) and both Tel Aviv and Eilat early in December, Monarch Airlines has announced plans to launch Manchester-Tel Aviv frequencies as of April 2016. Flights, three times weekly, will be aboard Airbus A320 craft configured for 174 seats. In announcing the new development, Monarch’s Head of Network...

“Scarabs from Gemstones” on Exhibition
The Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum, located in Ramat Gan’s Diamond Exchange complex, has opened a new exhibition, “Protective Force: Egyptian Scarabs from Gemstones,” scheduled to run until the end of April 2016. Featuring scarabs made of gemstones, from the collection of the Israel Museum, but which were not displayed until now, some...

Spotlight on Ramla
Though an ancient city and the traditional birth site of Joseph of Aramathea, with a Christian presence from the twelfth century, if not earlier, and a waystation for pilgrims traveling between Jaffa Port and Jerusalem from as early as the Middle Ages, Ramla has never really invested in promoting and developing its tourism potential, certainly not with an eye to...

Budget Hotels Tender
The Israel Land Authority and the Ministry of Tourism have announced publication of what a Ministry spokesperson terms “a unique tender,” for the acquisition of lease rights for five plots located throughout the country and designated for hotels, in order to establish a chain of budget hotels. In keeping with its policy to lower the price of...

Fines for Unofficial Star Rating
The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has approved Ministry of Tourism regulations enabling fines of up to ILS 9000 (about $2250) to be imposed on any hotel publishing misleading (i.e., unofficial) star ratings. Hotel star ratings in Israel are currently a voluntary procedure, and only...

“Where Else: Israel” 2015
“Where Else: Israel Tourism Convention 2015,” the Israel Ministry of Tourism’s annual invitational gathering for agents and tour operators from all over the world, took place for seven days early in December with an opening ceremony and reception in Tel Aviv at the Noor Culture Club, Jaffa, along with an “Eat With” culinary experience that highlighted Israeli culture and food. After spending the following day exploring Tel Aviv and Jaffa, the 120 or so invited professionals split up into four tours - Holyland; Culture & Lifestyle; Active Tourism; Dead Sea & Eilat - to devote three days to exploring aspects of the itinerary they had selected, before converging in Jerusalem for two workshops on the next-to-last day of their stay. The first, with members of the Israel Hotel Association, was held at the David Citadel, and it was followed by a workshop with ...

Rothschild 22 Opens
Located at the lower end of Rothschild Blvd., on the corner of Nahalat Binyamin St., in an area of Tel Aviv that has developed into a major city center for hi-tech, nightlife and dining and just a five-minute walk to the gentrified Neve Tzedek neighborhood, Rothschild 22, the Fattal Hotels Chain ‘s newest Tel Aviv property, developed at a cost of NIS 60 million (more than $15 million), opened...

Montefiore Dining Room Renovation
After being closed for about four months to allow for renovations, in which everything in it was replaced and the facility upgraded, the ground floor-level dining room at the Montefiore Hotel, Jerusalem reopened recently. During the time it was shut, hotel guests breakfasted in the auxiliary dining room in the hotel, one floor above, that served in the past as the site of the...

City Center Suites
“In a city where the cost of developing a new property from scratch is almost prohibitive and the result is that premium hotels are usually built, based on a pricing structure that enables entrepreneurs to recover their investment, but places many accommodation options beyond the reach of the average tourist, the City Center Suites and others like it are a true blessing...

Kfar Maccabiah Improvements
In preparation for the annual meeting this coming May, of the board of directors of the Maccabi World Union, described on its website as: “The largest and longest running Jewish sports organization, spanning five continents, over 60 countries, 450 clubs and 400,000 members,” to be held at Kfar Maccabi, Ramat Gan, where it is headquartered, the Kfar Maccabiah...

El Al-JetBlue Codeshare
El Al Israel Airlines and JetBlue Airways signed a Codeshare agreement in early November, and: “Travelers living in 38 cities in the U.S. can now experience convenient connections to their El Al nonstop flight to/from Israel,” an El Al spokesperson says. “Luggage is automatically transferred between the JetBlue and El Al flights, Matmid frequent flyer points are earned on the JetBlue domestic flights and passengers need only purchase...