Current News

IMTM 2017
Organized by Israel Travel News Ltd.(ITN) and Ortra Ltd., the 23rd International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) will be held 7-8 February 2017 at the Tel Aviv Convention Center (formerly known as the Israel Trade Fair & Exhibition Center, Tel Aviv). The two-day professional tourism gathering is scheduled to take place in the Center’s new Pavilion #2 for the first time. “The event we staged last February was very crowded, and that’s one of the reasons I and Ortra CEO Lior Gelfand decided to opt for the new venue, which means enlarging our floor space by about 1000 m²,” explains ITN Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Eyal Shmueli. “Not only that; Pavilion #2 is a newer, more technologically sophisticated venue.” While realizing that transferring activities to the new facility is a complicated operation fraught with potential pitfalls and that care needs to be taken to make the transition as seamless as possible, Shmueli and Gelfand are sure that the potential risks are more than offset by the benefits, especially since...

Fattal Developments in Tiberias
The Fattal Hotels Chain has invested heavily these past few months in the all-inclusive Leonardo Club Tiberias, with a full program of renovations that completed an upgrading project started a few years ago to upgrade all the hotel‘s 400 rooms and public areas. As part of this latest stage, new elements have been added to the hotel, including a number of statues designed after the...

Atlas Inaugurates Rothschild 65
In early September the Atlas chain inaugurated Rothschild 65, its ninth property in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, on the corner of Rothschild Blvd. and Nachmani St, in an eight-storey 1970s building, four storeys of which were added to it as part of the project. The building‘s new shell was designed by Israeli Architect Haim Dotan, who recently gained international recognition for designing the...

Alma Hotel & Lounge Update
“Some important improvements have been implemented at the Alma Tel Aviv since the hotel changed ownership nearly one year ago,” reports General Manager Eran Brill. “The first big change to the building, which was constructed in 1925 as one of Tel Aviv’s first multi-residential buildings and transformed into a hotel in 2010 at a cost of about ILS 15 million, was to close our...

Sea Life Hotel
Situated on the Nahariya-Achziv shore, in Israel’s northernmost, Western Galilee coastal region, the Sea Life Hotel, an independent boutique hotel and spa, completed refurbishments in late 2014. Previously known as the Sol Marine Hotel Nahariya, the property was purchased shortly after it ceased operation in 2009, and initial renovations commenced to transform the...

El Al-Dan Panorama Combinations
El Al Israel Airlines and the Dan Hotels Chain’s Dan Panorama properties - located in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv - are offering a six-night package combining hotel stay and flight. Packages are available for stays between 1-13 December this year and 8 January-5 March 2017, for El Al flights departing from the airline’s U.S. destinations, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

Israel Adora 2016
Israel Adora, an “International Call for Worship” organized by The Land Tours - a tour operator serving the Evangelical Christian community in Israel, and Gateway Church, Texas and in partnership with the Israel Ministry of Tourism is scheduled to taking place 27 November-7 December this year. The event has been planned to bring to Israel hundreds of members from the ...

National Library Tours
The National Library of Israel, located on the Givat Ram Campus of Hebrew University, Jerusalem, has started to offer guided tours of it premises and on-exhibit collections, reports the library’s External Relations & Marketing Coordinator, Culture & Education Division Yaara Halevy. The tours, priced for groups of 25 pax, last an hour or so and can be designed to meet the...

Tel Aviv: Hot Vegan Destination
CNN has placed Tel Aviv on its list of “world’s hottest destinations for vegans.” In highlighting the city, CNN writes: Israel’s modern seaside city hosts Vegan-Fest Tel Aviv, the world’s largest vegan festival, and it was recently ranked the #1 Best Destination for Vegan Travelers, by The Daily Meal.”

Visa Restrictions Eased for Chinese Tourists
Further to the initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and with the support of the Population Authority, a Ministry of Tourism spokesperson reports, the Israel Ministry of Finance has approved the cancellation of fees for tourist groups from China. In addition, multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years will be issued for Chinese nationals visiting Israel and for Israelis visiting China. Until now, visas were valid for just three months. “These procedures are intended to remove significant obstacles that affect the growth of incoming tourism from China,” the spokesperson adds. The agreement between China and Israel allows Chinese and Israeli citizens to receive a ten-year multiple-entry tourist visa for individual visits of up to 90 days. Other steps taken include the freedom to add the names of tourists to a Chinese tourist group until the day...

July 2016 Incoming Stats
According to statistics by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), about 241,200 people from abroad visited Israel in July 2016, a decrease from July last year, of about 13.5 percent. Of the visitors arriving this past July, 231,800 were classified as bona fide tourists (those spending at least one overnight in the country), down...

Olive Tree Improvements
The Olive Tree Hotel, Jerusalem has started to work on expanding its dining room, which can now accommodate about 300 at a single sitting. Balconies on two sides of the dining room are being incorporated into the current facility by being enclosed by glass walls. The two new tile-floored sections are separate, and each will be accessed by a separate dining...

Renovating the Seven Arches
After years and years of delay, work has begun on improving and modernizing the Seven Arches Hotel, located atop the Mt. of Olives, a property that opened as an InterContinental hotel in the 1960s, when East Jerusalem was still under Jordanian control. Renovations began early this March, with work...

New Waterslide at the Leonardo Club Eilat
The Fattal Hotels Chain has added a new Niagara waterslide to its waterpark at the Leonardo Club Eilat. The attraction, operated during hours when a lifeguard is in attendance, is 12 meters high and 30 meters in length. Users descend at velocities of up to three meters a second, a spokesperson for the chain says, and the attraction meets all safety regulations.

Orchid Chain Developments
With a mix of 137 Deluxe and Superior rooms featuring different views from across the city, and three suites, each outfitted with touches of marble and local Jerusalem stone, the Orchid Hotel Chain’s Herbert Samuel Hotel, developed from Jerusalem’s old Zion Hotel, and a part of the chain’s Royal Orchid collection, opened recently. All rooms offer Nespresso...

New Crowne Plaza Israel Restaurants
Paraliya (“Seashore” in Greek), the new restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv, headed by Crowne Plaza & Holiday Inn Israel’s Tel Aviv-cluster Executive Chef Asaf Michlovski, opened recently, with a culinary concept that “…reflects the seashore vistas visible through its windows,” a hotel spokesperson says. “The restaurant offers a wide assortment of fish dishes with...

Hotel 75
Prima Hotels has launched Hotel 75, a new 20-room property in Tel Aviv, on floors 3 and 4 of a building on 75 Allenby St. - hence its name - sharing part of the third floor with the chain’s management offices. The reception desk, complemented by an area in which hot and soft drinks and snacks are available, is located on the third floor. The hotel, which features 19m² rooms, can be booked...

Spas & “Sabon”
Guy Nadler, whose company manages THE Spa at the InterContinental David Tel Aviv, as well as the spa at the Elma Hotel, Zichron Ya’acov and that to operate in Israel’s first Kempinski property, scheduled to open in Tel Aviv 2017, has reached an agreement with “Sabon” (Hebrew for Soap), a company that began as a Sheinkin St. storefront in Tel Aviv, selling handmade...

Galilion in the Upper Galilee
Situated on 22.5 acres of land adjacent to the Hula Agmon, in the Upper Galilee, Galileon, described by a spokesperson as “the largest tourism complex in the North,” opened recently. The ILS 200 million project, a joint venture of Kibbutz Kfar Giladi and a local developer, took three years to construct. It includes a hotel with 120 rooms and suites, spa, swimming pool and...

Spotlight on Tennis for Tourists & Visitors
By: ITN Jerusalem Correspondent Amnon Lipzin When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there were very tennis courts in the country, and the few that did exist then were used primarily by Jewish immigrants from Central Europe, and until 1948, by British officers. From as early as 1949, Israel has competed...

“Operation Yoni” at the Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center
“Operation Yoni,” an exhibition that will run through the end of the year, is on show at the Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center. It focuses on Operation Yoni (aka Operation Entebbe) and the 1976 commando operation, when Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister, to rescue Israeli hostages from Uganda, commanded by Lt. Col. Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu, who was...

International Medical Conferences for Jerusalem
A number of international medical conferences are scheduled to be held during the last four months of 2016 and early in 2017 at the ICC Jerusalem International Conference Center: the 13th International Congress of Neuroimmunology; the International Association for Dental Research/Pan-European Congress; the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics; the World...

“I am Jerusalem”
A new attraction entitled “I am Jerusalem,” developed by the same company that created Jerusalem’s Time Elevator attraction, opened recently in a new basement-level theater in a mall on Alrov Mamilla Blvd. While the 25-minute multi-sensory attraction, complete with chairs on moveable platforms, “…focuses on Jerusalem’s past, it relates to the present too and...

easyJet Notes
Addressing the Manchester branch of the Israel Britain Chamber of Commerce late in June, easyJet UK Commercial Manager Ali Gayward mentioned that the airline is considering a third weekly Manchester-Tel Aviv frequency, in light of the success it has been enjoying with its two weekly flights on the route, and that it is also looking into the possibility of using Ramon...

Shofar Production Tour
Located at Givat Yoav in the Golan Heights, “Kol Shofar” (Voice of the Ram’s Horn”), founded in 1998, is a workshop producing all styles of shofars (Jewish ceremonial ram’s horns) by veteran shofar blower Shimon Keinan. The production process combines traditional methods with modern...

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...