Accommodation update in Israel
From the very North to the most southern point of Israel, visitors have a wide selection of accommodation options, some of which hold particular uniqueness to the country: hotels, boutique hotels, B&Bs, hostels, apartment rentals, camping grounds, cabins, kibbutzim (village settlements) and more.

Alongside this growing pool, online travel agents are tailoring their products to cater to demand and remain competitive amid fluctuating trends. “Staying on top of the needs and wants of consumers is the real challenge for us as they change so frequently,” says Booking.com Regional Director Andrea D’Amico. “We have to satisfy the needs across a diversity of segments, and understand what criteria are required in order to provide suitable options and support customers with superlative service.”

Initially established as a site for hotel listings, Booking.com later diversified its product to offer a choice of over 2,400 properties across Israel. “Over half of these properties are alternative accommodations, as we see the demand for this kind of property increasing,” says D’Amico. “Taking Tel Aviv...
Maskit Boutique: Luxury in the north
Located on Moshav Liman in the Western Galilee, a short ride north of Nahayria, sits Maskit Boutique, an intimate hotel set within a private estate. The owners, husband and wife duo Avi and Sarit Maskit, opened the hotel in 2006 on a perfectly manicured plot of land, surrounded by landscaped gardens...
Villa Brown Jerusalem
Villa Brown Jerusalem, the fourth property in Israel to join the Brown Hotels portfolio, has opened. Located a short distance from Jerusalem’s Old City, the boutique hotel offers 24 rooms across classic (15-18m²), deluxe and deluxe terrace (22m²), and terrace (35m²) categories. Two connectable attic rooms are...
New Properties for Leshem Group
Hotel Management Company Leshem Group, which develops properties across Israel and abroad, has opened three new hotels: Ramada Resort Hadera; Tryp Jerusalem Bat Sheva, and Ramada Olive Nazareth.

The Ramada Resort Hadera, located on Menachem...
The Setai in Israel
The Setai, Sea of Galilee is due to open May 30, featuring 88 suites and 22 rooms, averaging 55m². “We are expanding the Setai brand out with The Setai Miami, a hotel known for its luxury offerings, and have invested hundreds of millions of shekels into our latest properties to introduce the brand to Israel,” says CEO of Orchid Hotels, Avi Hormaro. Setai, Sea of Galilee rooms feature...
Malka Hotel Opens
A new 22 room hotel has opened in Jerusalem on Heleni-ha Malka St. “It was a place once frequented by Russian pilgrims around 130 years ago, in search of gifts,” says its owner, hotel General Manager Yoram Malka, who purchased the property four years ago. “I had just moved back from South Africa and began renovations on the hotel, and the name seemed fitting, given its location and my surname.” Double, twin and deluxe rooms, half of which feature balconies, ...
The Drisco to Open
The Drisco, a new independently managed hotel situated in Tel Aviv’s American Colony on Auerbach St, is to open in late 2017. The hotel is built within a renovated building that once housed the Jerusalem Hotel, a prestigious property in pre-State Israel from 1870 to 1940. Between 1958 and the late 70s, the building served a number of purposes, including military headquarters...
Kibbutz Lavi Hotel
Kibbutz Lavi Hotel, located in the Kibbutz Lavi Village close to Tiberias, has completed a full-scale renovation to 60 rooms, including a number of suites, in the Hod Wing. A mix of ceramic parquet flooring has been installed, together with new furnishings, mattresses and linens. The hotel has 184 rooms, all accessible to one another via connecting wings, and offers three categories of rooms: Standard, Superior and Deluxe. “We opened the hotel 55 years ago...
 
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Current News

Accommodation update in Israel
From the very North to the most southern point of Israel, visitors have a wide selection of accommodation options, some of which hold particular uniqueness to the country: hotels, boutique hotels, B&Bs, hostels, apartment rentals, camping grounds, cabins, kibbutzim (village settlements) and more. Alongside this growing pool, online travel agents are tailoring their products to cater to demand and remain competitive amid fluctuating trends. “Staying on top of the needs and wants of consumers is the real challenge for us as they change so frequently,” says Booking.com Regional Director Andrea D’Amico. “We have to satisfy the needs across a diversity of segments, and understand what criteria are required in order to provide suitable options and support customers with superlative service.” Initially established as a site for hotel listings, Booking.com later diversified its product to offer a choice of over 2,400 properties across Israel. “Over half of these properties are alternative accommodations, as we see the demand for this kind of property increasing,” says D’Amico. “Taking Tel Aviv...

Maskit Boutique: Luxury in the north
Located on Moshav Liman in the Western Galilee, a short ride north of Nahayria, sits Maskit Boutique, an intimate hotel set within a private estate. The owners, husband and wife duo Avi and Sarit Maskit, opened the hotel in 2006 on a perfectly manicured plot of land, surrounded by landscaped gardens...

Villa Brown Jerusalem
Villa Brown Jerusalem, the fourth property in Israel to join the Brown Hotels portfolio, has opened. Located a short distance from Jerusalem’s Old City, the boutique hotel offers 24 rooms across classic (15-18m²), deluxe and deluxe terrace (22m²), and terrace (35m²) categories. Two connectable attic rooms are...

New Properties for Leshem Group
Hotel Management Company Leshem Group, which develops properties across Israel and abroad, has opened three new hotels: Ramada Resort Hadera; Tryp Jerusalem Bat Sheva, and Ramada Olive Nazareth. The Ramada Resort Hadera, located on Menachem...

The Setai in Israel
The Setai, Sea of Galilee is due to open May 30, featuring 88 suites and 22 rooms, averaging 55m². “We are expanding the Setai brand out with The Setai Miami, a hotel known for its luxury offerings, and have invested hundreds of millions of shekels into our latest properties to introduce the brand to Israel,” says CEO of Orchid Hotels, Avi Hormaro. Setai, Sea of Galilee rooms feature...

Malka Hotel Opens
A new 22 room hotel has opened in Jerusalem on Heleni-ha Malka St. “It was a place once frequented by Russian pilgrims around 130 years ago, in search of gifts,” says its owner, hotel General Manager Yoram Malka, who purchased the property four years ago. “I had just moved back from South Africa and began renovations on the hotel, and the name seemed fitting, given its location and my surname.” Double, twin and deluxe rooms, half of which feature balconies, ...

The Drisco to Open
The Drisco, a new independently managed hotel situated in Tel Aviv’s American Colony on Auerbach St, is to open in late 2017. The hotel is built within a renovated building that once housed the Jerusalem Hotel, a prestigious property in pre-State Israel from 1870 to 1940. Between 1958 and the late 70s, the building served a number of purposes, including military headquarters...

Kibbutz Lavi Hotel
Kibbutz Lavi Hotel, located in the Kibbutz Lavi Village close to Tiberias, has completed a full-scale renovation to 60 rooms, including a number of suites, in the Hod Wing. A mix of ceramic parquet flooring has been installed, together with new furnishings, mattresses and linens. The hotel has 184 rooms, all accessible to one another via connecting wings, and offers three categories of rooms: Standard, Superior and Deluxe. “We opened the hotel 55 years ago...

Kfar Maccabiah Hotel Reopens its Seminar Building
Kfar Maccabiah Hotel has reopened its Seminar Building, after a year of renovation works. Containing 13 rooms across three floors, the building is utilized for business conferences, company meetings and training events, and forms a section of the Convention & Events Center spaces within the hotel’s grounds. Each room is equipped with multi-media technology, a large television...

Prima Millennium
Prima Millennium, the 14th property to join the Prima Hotels portfolio, has opened in Ra’anana, south of Israel’s Sharon Plain district. The hotel has 140 rooms across five categories of Classic, Executive, Deluxe, Premium and Premium Room with Balcony. All rooms feature a queen size bed, 42 inch interactive satellite TV, desk with USB connections, bathrobes, tea and coffee maker, mini fridge...

Breakfast at 65 Hotel and Market House
Breakfast buffets are as synonymous to Israel as bread is to butter, with Middle Eastern salads, cheeses and spreads consumed in their abundance. Having feasted on more than a few Israeli breakfasts, I was intrigued as to why those offered at 65 Hotel and Market House Hotel, two Atlas Hotels...

WalkInnIsrael
WalkInnIsrael, a self-guided hiking tour company founded by authorized Tour Guide Alon Galin, offers a portfolio of pre-made walking trails across regions of Israel. “I have worked in the tour guide industry for over 30 years and had the idea to launch WalkInnIsrael after traveling outside of the country and discovering the option to explore regions on a self-guided basis, a concept ...

Rediscovering a City with Haifa Street Food Tours
On my last visit to Haifa back in 2014, I spent the day touring the Baha’i Gardens and wandering the streets of the Carmel neighborhood, but I have since discovered that the city has plenty more to offer in its repertoire. In recent years, work has commenced to revitalize sections...

Armenia Airlines launches flights
Armenia Airlines has started operating direct flights between Yerevan in Armenia and Tel Aviv, with a twice weekly route, Thursdays and Sundays.

El Al Direct Miami Flights
El Al has announced the reintroduction of its direct Miami to Tel Aviv route, which ceased operation in 2008. The flight will be offered three times a week starting from November. This is the airline’s sixth North American destination, alongside New York, Newark, Boston, Los Angeles and Toronto, with 37 weekly frequencies between continents in summer and 26 in winter. Ryanair announces new routes to Eilat Budget airline Ryanair has announced two new routes from Bremen and Dusseldorf Weeze to Ovda Airport in Eilat as part of its winter schedule for 2017. Both flights will operate bi-weekly.

SAS returning to Israel
Scandinavian airline SAS is launching direct flights from Stockholm to Eilat for the winter period, from October to March. The new route is part of the Ministry of Tourism’s “Winter Flights Directive” framework, which offers airlines a subsidy per passenger. This is the first route offered for Israel by SAS since it ceased operations to the country in March 2016.

Wizz Air Expands Routes to Israel
Low-cost Hungarian airline Wizz Air has announced new routes to Tel Aviv from: Lublin, Poland; Craiova, Romania; and Kosice, Slovakia. Bi-weekly flights on each route will operate from June. The airline is also increasing its frequency on its Bucharest to Tel Aviv flights, from four to seven times a week, from September 18, and Budapest to Tel Aviv from seven to ten flights a week, from October 29.

Ural Airlines flying to Israel
Ural Airlines inaugurated its new route between Sochi in Russia and Tel Aviv, operating twice weekly, Thursdays and Sundays, all year round.

Experience Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) is launching a new cities break product targeting millennials, from the end of May. “When we say ‘millennials,’ we refer to those born between 1980 and 2000, a younger generation who experienced the developments of new media in its infancy,” says Director of Incoming Tourism & International Relations for the JDA Eli Nahmias. “This segment ...

World Food Market Opens for Summer
Urban Zone TLV, a world food market pop up, will be in operation in Tel Aviv until August. Taking place on Carlibach St., next to the recently inaugurated Fashion Mall TLV, the market offers cuisines from across the globe, including tastes from Japan, South Africa, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Mexico and Columbia. According to organizers, the objective of the market is to provide a cultural platform in which to showcase authentic ethnic cuisine from a variety of countries. Artists are also exhibiting their works, including paintings and graphics, and musical entertainment is provided. Open weekly, Wednesday to Saturday.

20th Maccabiah Games
The 20th Maccabiah Games will take place between 4-18 July, with over 10,000 athletes from 80 countries participating in 43 different sporting events across Israel. Athletes will compete across categories of Juniors, Open, Masters and Paralympics. The first games, launched in 1932, saw 390 athletes competing from 18 countries; s they have since grown in status to being...

Direct Bus Line from Jerusalem to Hebron
A new bus line from Jerusalem to the Cave of the Patriarchs (Ma’arat HaMachpela) in Hebron has been approved by Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz. The Egged 383 line departs from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station at various times throughout the day, stopping at designated points on route to its final destination at Gross Square, Kiryat Arba, in the Gush Etzion region. The return journey, departing mornings, offers fewer frequencies. The route, with an approximate journey time of one hour, is in operation Sunday to Thursday.

Bar Refaeli Campaign
Israeli super model Bar Refaeli has appeared on the cover of the May Spanish edition of Condé Nast Traveler, promoting the “avant-garde” city of Tel Aviv. The feature was organized by a collaboration with the Israeli Embassy in Madrid and the Israel Ministry of Tourism, to promote Spanish tourism to Israel. The 12-page spread features a photoshoot of Refaeli in various...

An Update on easyJet in Israel
easyJet, the low-cost British airline, launched its first route to Tel Aviv from London Luton in 2009, and has since grown to become the second largest airline operating in Israel, after El Al. “ We are extremely proud of our presence at Ben Gurion Airport and the brand presence of easyJet throughout Israel. We have grown to offer 46 flights a week at our peak, operating from nine countries across Europe, with Paris and Amsterdam our most recent additions,” outlines easyJet Commercial Manager Neil Slaven. “Our drive in demand for Tel Aviv routes owes much to a renewed perception of Israel as a fun, safe, cultural and historically significant destination, with easily accessible regions that offer links to a diversity of consumer groups, many of whom have a pre-existing link to the country.” easyJet, which flew over 800,000 passengers...

Aviation Update
AIR EUROPA ADDS MORE FLIGHTS Spanish airline Air Europa is increasing its Madrid-Tel Aviv route from three to six flights a week, starting in July. According to the company, the number of passengers traveling this route has increased by 47% since the start of the year.

KENES TOURS ‘WOMEN OF VALOR’
Christian and Jewish travel tour company Kenes Tours, in collaboration with the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation, has launched its “’Women of Valor’ – A Journey in the Footsteps of the Biblical Women” tour, which for the first time brought a group of Christian female pastors and wives of pastors together for a program crafted exclusively...

TLVstyle Boutique Tours
Boutique fashion tour company TLVstyle, founded by entrepreneur and fashion-content expert Galit Reismann, provides high-end tailor made tours in Tel Aviv. “We are a creative community for those in the Israeli fashion industry, bridging international visitors with local creators and offering insightful behind-the-scene glimpses into the works of designers,” says Reismann. “I identify as a true Tel Avivian with roots and history in the city. I can remember ...

Touring Israel
Tailor-made tour company Touring Israel was set up in 2003 by American-born Israeli Joe Yudin, who immigrated to the country 25 years ago. “I believe that a happy tour guide is a happy tourist, and my main goal is not centered on maximizing profits,” says Yudin. “The idea for Touring Israel was to create a trip where...

Hotels Update
Nahsholim Holiday Village Kibbutz Hotel Located on the Mediterranean Sea front at the foot of Mount Carmel, 20km north of Caesarea, sits a vacation retreat void of rowdy crowds and disturbances. Nahsholim Holiday Village Kibbutz Hotel is an enchanting site catering to an assortment of guests, with over 150 accommodations, including...

THE TERRA SANCTA MUSEUM
The new Terra Sancta Museum, located in Jerusalem in two Franciscan buildings with sections dating back to the Roman, Byzantine and Crusader periods, is currently under construction and renovation. The Monastery of the Flagellation, situated at the start of the Via Dolorosa, is now the site of the Archaeological Museum of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, which opened...

ITB 2017
Twenty-six organizations within the Israel tourism industry exhibited at this year’s ITB, Berlin, which took place March 8-12 2017, the first three days of which were open to tourism professionals and the last two days to the general public. The inauguration of the Israel Pavilion, spanning 670m², was attended by Israel Ministry of Tourism Director General Amir Halevy and Israeli...

Ahalan Olympus Shared Shuttle Service
Incoming tour operator Ahalan Olympus, an organizer of customized tours across Israel, is to launch two new shared shuttle services from May. Shuttles running between Bethlehem and Jerusalem are available for tourists and will make three stops in Jerusalem - at the Prima Park Hotel, Israel Museum bus parking lot and the Old City at the Mount Zion parking lot. It will...

INCOMING STATISTICS FOR MARCH
The Ministry of Tourism has reported a 22 percent increase of the number of tourist entries to Israel this March (over 293,000) compared to the same month in 2016 (240,400), with around 255,500 arriving by air and 37,600 entering by land. Between January to March 2017, 736,600 visitors were recorded as entering the country, a 23.5 percent increase from the same period...

Dov Airfield Update
The Knesset (Israeli Parliament) has passed a bill to continue the operation of Tel Aviv’s Dov Airfield until 2019, at which time the military airport is to cease function. Originally, the airport was to close in April 2017 and the land to be sold for property development. Despite this ruling, the fast tracked bill, which received a unanimous vote from Knesset members, mandates...

Q Elite Beauty
Tailor-design beauty service Q Elite Beauty, which offers on-demand, on-location beauty services, has launched in Israel and currently operates across Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Mitzpe Ramon. “I have a number of years of experience working within the hotel incoming tourism industry throughout Israel, and I identified a gap in the market for a high-end service such...

HAIFA-NAZARETH LIGHT RAIL
The Israel National Infrastructure Committee has approved National Infrastructure Plan 56. Initiated by the Ministry of Transport, the plan outlines construction of a light rail line running from HaMifratz Central Station in Haifa to HaMusakhim Junction in Nazareth, at an estimated cost of ILS 5.9 billion. Following cabinet approval, detailed planning will commence, with the line scheduled for operation by 2023. Running 43 kilometers in length, it will feature 17 railway stations and nine park and ride stations along the route, with 32 electric trains on the line.

UPCOMING EVENTS FOR 2017
A highlight of festivals and events across Israel. FESTIVALS Sufi Festival May 4-6, Desert Ashram International Yoga Fest May 11-13, Gan Hashlosha, Nir David Holy Land Choir Festival May 16-18, Sea of Galilee Menashe Forest Festival ...

ITB Welcome
Dear Friends, ITB Berlin is the most important annual meeting place for the world’s tourism industry, with 1000 exhibitors from over 180 countries this year, and more than 200,000 visitors, including tourism professionals, media personnel and the public at large. Israel’s pavilion, as in the past, will be spacious, covering an area of 672m². The Israel Ministry of Tourism is pleased that so many exhibitors will be coming this year to the fair, to intensify Israel’s sales and marketing efforts and promote its tourism products. Cooperation between the Ministry and Israel’s private tourism sector at ITB is the correct way to promote Israel and increase sales. About 80 million annual trips out of the country are taken by German travelers, who enjoy 24 days off during the year. Statistics show that about 31 percent book via travel agencies, 17 percent...

IMTM 2017
IMTM 2017, the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, was held on 7-8 February for the 23rd time at the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv. According to Ortra Ltd. and Israel Travel News Ltd. (publishers of Israel Travel News), organizers of the annual event which filled Pavilion #2 for the first time, 1780 exhibitors from 58 countries across 414 booths took part, the highest number ever. The event also hosted 2,300 trade visitors from abroad and 220 foreign buyers, and was attended by a total of 27,000 visitors. This year hosted several new countries who presented for the first time: Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Britain, China, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Peru and Costa Rica. Delegations from other countries participating in the exhibition...

Aviation (ITN - March 2017)
AIR CANADA MONTREAL TO TEL AVIV Air Canada is launching a new direct flight twice weekly from Montreal to Tel Aviv, from June to October. The airline will also increase the frequency of its Toronto to Tel Aviv flight to...

Awards & Mentions (ITN - March 2017)
Tel Aviv in American Express essentials Digital lifestyle magazine American Express essentials has named Tel Aviv as one of the top places to visit this year on its “Our 2017 Trend Destination Hotlist.” The feature mentions boutique Hotel 65’s breakfast as offering “…a feast...

Spotlight - A Spiritual Journey of Safed
Located northwards of Tiberias in the Upper Galilee, the city is hailed as the center of Kabbalah and offers much to its thousands of annual visitors in terms of ancient sites, spiritual teachings and sprawling nature. Whilst living in Israel, I have heard much chatter of Safed’s holiness, and, like many others, have grown intrigued as to its supposed spiritual offerings. The Capital of Kabbalah The study of Kabbalah (meaning “receiving”) seeks...

Kikar Hamusica
Kikar Hamusica (Music Square) recently opened to visitors Yoel Salomon St. in Jerusalem. Through the combined vision of French project creator Laurent Levy and museum director Eldad Levy, (the two are not related), to “unite all through music,” the 700m² project is advancing in its development. A courtyard is punctuated by a selection of music-themed restaurants, cafés and bars...

ISRAELI INNOVATION CENTER TO OPEN
An innovation space that will serve as both an educational hub and visitor’s center is scheduled to open in 2018. Its establishment was honored last summer by the ninth President of Israel and ambassador for Israel’s high-tech sphere, Shimon Peres, a few months before his passing. The Israeli Innovative Center, located at the Peres Peace House in Jaffa, is projected to attract thousands of global visitors who can learn about the history of Israel’s innovative...

Tabeetha School Tours
Tabeetha School was founded by Scottish University Professor Jane Walker-Arnott in 1864, and today serves as the only Church of Scotland School globally to educate students across a spectrum of nationalities and faiths, in English and under the British system of education. T he school’s initial class was taught...

Hotels (ITN - March 2017)
The Bezalel Hotel Jerusalem The first thing you notice upon entering the Bezalel Hotel is its home like ambiance, created by a colorful blend of locally sourced works and furnishings that capture the character of the city, and eye catching hand painted tiles on feature walls that emit a sense of tranquility with calming...

Nachum Gutman Museum Audio Tours
Audio tours have been introduced in the permanent exhibition at the Nachum Gutman Museum, located in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. The museum is based within a house built by the Schulman family in 1887 which formed one of the first 48 houses in the Neve Tzedek area, and the permanent exhibition showcases the works of Gutman, an Israeli painter, sculptor and author, which were...

THE MIQWE TRAIL IN OPHEL PARK
A new trail has been inaugurated between two thousand-year-old ritual baths that were once used by pilgrims visiting the Temple Mount. The experimental trail is an extension of the existing paths at the Ophel site in the Davidson Center Archaeological Park, contained within the walls around Jerusalem National Park, and has been constructed and conserved in recent...

Statistics- January 2017
JANUARY INCOMING STATISTICS January 2017 has seen a 27% increase in incoming tourism from the same month in 2016, with 210,000 recorded entries into Israel. Of these tourists: 188,200 arrived by air, 23% more...

Updates
Shuk Rothschild Allenby A new indoor food market has opened in Tel Aviv at the intersection of Rothschild and Allenby streets. According to sources, the market has been designed in the styles of Eataly in New York and La Boqueria Market in Barcelona. The 1250m² space houses over 20 street food stalls...

Statistics
Increase in Tourist Arrivals to Israel in 2016 The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics’ latest figures reveal an increase of 3.4% in incoming tourism to Israel in 2016 compared to the previous year, accounting for 2.9 million tourist arrivals to Ben Gurion Airport. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the last four months of 2016 saw an all-time record for incoming tourism to the country with a 16.6% rise in tourist arrivals during this period, compared to the same months in 2015. The Ministry “…attributes the increase to a strategic shift in marketing and an increase in the marketing budget,” which was set at almost half a billion shekels for incoming tourism last year. A combined ILS 35 million portion of this investment was focused on two newer markets - China and India - both of which experienced a rise in tourist arrivals compared to 2015. China saw 84,600 entering by land and air last year (+65%); India accounted for 44,600 arriving by land and air (+13.5%). Furthermore, December 2016 experienced a higher number of incoming tourists...

Aviation
Air Transat Montreal to Tel Aviv Route Canadian airline Air Transat will be operating direct flights from Montreal to Tel Aviv between June and October 2017, providing two afternoon departures a week from Montreal and two morning return flights from Tel Aviv. This is the first direct Montreal route to Tel Aviv in many years, and the third direct connection from Canada. Air Canada and El Al currently offer...

National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has undertaken a project to bring together and display a collection of two million archaeological objects, including 15,000 Dead Sea Scrolls, in the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. Currently under construction, the campus is slated to open late 2017 and is located on Museum Hill in Jerusalem, between...

White City Heritage Center to Open in Tel Aviv
Plans to develop a White City Heritage Center in Tel Aviv are underway, in a joint collaboration between the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Tel Aviv, referred to as the ‘White City’ due to its collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus style buildings, was declared a UNESCO World...

Awards&Mentions
RITZ CARLTON The Luxury Travel Guide has awarded the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Herzliya with the Luxury Contemporary Hotel of the Year Award 2016. “We are proud to win this prestigious award,” General Manager Ned Capeleris commented. “[It} is dedicated to our employees, who provide excellent service on a daily basis with great pride and passion, as our motto says – ‘we are ladies...

Milk & Honey Whisky Tours
The Milk & Honey Distillery, founded in 2012, opened its Tel Aviv visitor center this past April within an 800m² industrial space that previously housed a bakery. “We decided to open the distillery in Tel Aviv as it’s the center of business culture and a tourist hub that’s easily accessible to many,” outlines CEO Eilan Attir. The initial concept of a whisky distillery in Israel...

UPCOMING MUSIC PERFORMANCES IN ISRAEL
Gothic metal band from Halifax England, Paradise Lost, will give a concert on 23 February at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv. Australian-British singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia is to perform 1 March at Heichal Hatarbut - Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv. English rock back Yes will give a concert on March 7 at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena. The performance will feature three of the original band members - vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarist Trevor Rabin and...

Travel Composer
“I refer to Israel as a destination - a country where visitors can cover such a diverse variety of activities during a 10-day trip,” says Hani Sand, founder of boutique travel company Travel Composer. Following a year of planning, Chicago-born Sand launched the company last summer, offering boutique tailored experiences...

FlyBox opens in Israel
FlyBox has opened its first wind tunnel center in Israel, located in Rishon LeZion, 8km south of Tel Aviv, with an investment of ILS 46 Million. Founded by a team of professional partners with over 20 years of wind tunnel and sky diving experience, FlyBox provides visitors multiple two-minute flights within the tunnel simulator and offers optional packages, including a VIP experience...

Bitemojo Launches in Jerusalem
Bitemojo, an Israeli culinary tourism app that launched in Berlin last year, is now available in Jerusalem. The app allows users flexibility to book from a selection of self-guided tours tailored to individual preferences and tastes. Jerusalem options include a food tour of Machane Yehuda Market, a creative class food tour and a nightlife tour of Jerusalem, each running two-three hours and providing a sample of local tastes. The app can be downloaded on both iOS and Android and is available in English and German.

Dizengoff 208 Opens
New boutique hotel, Dizengoff 208, has joined A.A Hotels Ltd. management portfolio, bringing its total to six properties across Israel. Located at the northern end of Dizengoff St. at the Arlozorov St. intersection, Dizengoff 208 occupies a four story building that previously served as a branch of Bank Hapoalim. “The site was bought by an investor from Los Angeles and the building...

ibis Jerusalem to Open
“This will be the first ibis hotel in central Jerusalem and the second from the chain in Israel as there is already an ibis Styles in East Jerusalem,” outlines hotel General Manager Aharon Bernstein. “The new hotel is an ibis Red, one of three ibis categories, meaning all of our furnishings are imported from Europe in...

Updates for Jerusalem Gold Hotel
The Jerusalem Gold Hotel has implemented a new marketing strategy under the direction of General Manager Ricardo Cordoba-Core, who was recently promoted from director of marketing and sales. “As an extension of my role as general manager, I have refocused our marketing efforts with a three-year strategy that more clearly...

Vital Hotel Renovations
Vital Hotel, a 65 room boutique Tel Aviv business property, has injected ILS 4 million into renovations. Upgrades, designed by architect Ari Shaaltiel, have taken place across public spaces and some guest rooms. “The furniture, including beds and mattresses, was replaced in rooms and new bedding, carpets, curtains and a smart 40-inch TV were added,” says Joint General Manager...

Rimonim Hotels Room Escape
Rimonim Hotels is introducing an escape room experience for guests in its Eilat and Nazareth hotels. The game allows participants 60 minutes to escape from a locked room by solving a story via a series of puzzle, clues and teamwork thinking. The first phase will involve building two escape rooms by Israeli detective room specialist company Escapeit within each of the hotels...

Grants for New Hotels
The Ministry of Tourism has approved over ILS 220 million in grants to entrepreneurs building accommodation properties for tourists, reflecting an increase of more than 1900 hotel rooms. The regions to receive the largest share of the grants are: Eilat - with three new hotels, adding 410 rooms. Jerusalem - with six new hotels and a hostel, adding...

A New Record at IMTM
Over 50 countries are registered to participate in the 23rd International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM), setting a new record for the annual exhibition. 14 international ministers of tourism will also be in attendance. Organized by Israel Travel News Ltd. and Ortra Ltd., the event will be held 7-8 February at the Tel Aviv Convention Center and in Pavilion #2 for the first time, the center’s new 6,000m² hall, larger than that used in previous...

Ben Gurion Airport Exhibition
A new exhibition in Ben Gurion Airport was recently unveiled entitled “120 Years of Zionism”. Described as the airport’s largest exhibition to date, the Terminal 3 display, which spans 200 meters, offers passengers an account of early Zionist leaders and founders of the State of Israel, with insight on topics including absorption of immigrants into the country, the Diaspora, Jerusalem, and Hebrew as a spoken language today, among others.

Erga & Associates Ltd Appoints Clalit
Representatives of Israeli Hospitals in Nigeria, Erga & Associates Ltd, has appointed Israeli healthcare provider Clalit as its agent. Mr Yorman Raveh, chairman of the Board of Directors and manager of the Israeli branch of Erga & Associaties, said “A tourist from Nigeria now has a choice of health holidays in Israel. The medical surgeons in Israel have gained a reputation...

Queen of Sheba Eilat Update
The Hilton Queen of Sheba Eilat has rebranded to Queen of Sheba Eilat following a termination of its 16 year partnership with the Hilton chain. Oded Lifschitz, VP Israel, Hilton Worldwide said “Following a mutual agreement with the hotel’s owner, Asset of Queen of Sheba Limited Partnership, from December 31st 2016 the hotel has no longer been operating as part of the...

IMTM 2017
The 23rd annual International Mediterranean Tourism Exhibition (IMTM) 2017, organized by Israel Travel News Ltd. and Ortra Ltd., will be held February 7-8 at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, hosting representatives from around 40 countries including Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Belarus, Spain, Catalonia, Finland, Lapland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Georgia, U.S., Portugal, Malta, Poland Kyrgyzstan, India, Korea, the Philippines, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Morocco, Ecuador, Panama, and others, as well as suppliers from Israel. The two-day event will take place for the first time in Pavilion #2, a larger space than previous years, spanning 6000m². This decision was taken, according to ITN Publisher & Editor-in- Chief Eyal Shmueli, due to the increasing momentum in recent years from the international tourism exhibition and a rise in the number of participants exhibiting and visiting. “The sophisticated venue allows exhibitors more versatility and creativity in their space, with the event expected to attract...

November 2016 Incoming Statistics
According to published records by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), incoming tourism reached an all-time high in November 2016, when, 287,900 tourists entered Israel, reflecting an increase of 38 percent compared to the same month last year and around a 31 percent increase over November 2014. About 254,000 tourists arrived by...

The Ministerial Committee on Regulatory Affairs
The Ministerial Committee on Regulatory Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met this month to approve a program which will reduce the regularity constraints imposed on the hotel industry in Israel. The plan, an initiative of Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, was developed with an eye to decreasing the burden of overregulation on the hotel industry, a Ministry...

Spotlight on “Where Else: Israel 2016”
By Leoni Jesner The Israel Ministry of Tourism, in cooperation with regional tourism associations, the Israel Hotel Association (IHA), the Israel Incoming Tour Operations Association and El Al Israel Airlines, held its “Where Else” convention in Israel for the sixth consecutive year. The event hosted over 130 international tour operators and company owners from the world travel ...

Alexander HB
The Alexander Hotel, Tel Aviv initiated a program a few months ago, to offer HB to its guests and to have them go out for dinner at a selection of local restaurants. “More and more people were asking us about a half-board option, but still were interested in experiencing Tel Aviv’s renowned culinary scene. It’s a trend we have spotted with both Israelis...

Publica Herzliya to Open
Scheduled to begin operation early in 2017, the Isrotel chain’s Publica Hotel is located in Herzliya, in the city’s hi-tech district, which is adjacent to its nightlife district. As such, Isrotel will be targeting the business market for its new 156-room property, while not neglecting the leisure market. The Publica has been designed to exude a sense of home, a spokesperson for...

Germania Nuremburg-Tel Aviv Flights
German low-cost airline Germania will launch direct flights from Nuremberg to Tel Aviv in November next year, complementing the airline’s flights to Tel Aviv from Hamburg and Dusseldorf Aviv. The Nuremberg-Tel Aviv frequency will operate twice a week, every Monday and Thursday, making Nuremburg the eighth German city with departing Tel Aviv flights, along with Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart.

New Sun d’Or Routes
El Al subsidiary Sun d’Or is inaugurating direct flights between Krakow and Tel Aviv, commencing the end of March 2017. The twice-weekly frequencies will depart on Monday and Friday mornings. The airline is also launching direct flights from Malaga to Tel Aviv from the end of May 2017, based on an agreement between the Israel Ministry of Tourism and Sport of Andalusia, with...

Flight Agreement with Thailand
Following negotiations between Israel and Thailand, a new air travel agreement was signed in Bangkok in an effort to increase the maximum number of flights departing each country from eight to 28. The agreement stipulates no restrictions on airlines, types and capacity of aircraft, and it also allows for commercial partnerships between the countries, including...

TLV VIP Airport Transfers
TLV VIP, which offers a range of upscale services and products to people visiting Tel Aviv, is marketing new arrival and departure transfer options, which have been added to its Airport VIP Service menu. “Our fleet was launched this October and includes the Mercedes Viano, V-Class and E-Class, S-Class and...

Old City Train
The Old City Train is a shuttle service running between the Western Wall and Jaffa Gate, in Jerusalem. Service is on a two-car shuttle led by a model train engine truck brightly colored in yellow. The train departs every 30 minutes on Sunday-Thursday from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, on Fridays from 8:00 AM until an hour before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath and on Saturdays...

Northern Israel Railway Developments
The Jezreel Valley Railroad, operating between Haifa and Beit Shean via Afula, has been launched. With a journey time of around 50 minutes, the 60-km line runs through five stations - Haifa, Yokneam/Kfar Yehoshua, Migdal HaEmek, Afula and Beit Shean. According to an Israel Railways spokesperson, a stop at Hutzut HaMifratz will be introduced...

Emek Light Rail
The creation of a Blue Line on the Jerusalem light rail through Emek Refaim, a main street within Jerusalem’s German Colony, has received the go ahead from city Mayor Nir Barkat, according to a spokesperson for the Jerusalem Municipality. The new 20km line will pass through 34 stations, from the southern neighborhood of Gilo, to Ramot in the north via Emek Refaim Street, with 2026 set as the target date for completion.

The Biblical Museum of Natural History
Located close to the entrance to Beit Shemesh, a short drive from Jerusalem, the Biblical Museum of Natural History opened recently. The new museum showcases the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects mentioned in the Old Testament and also relates to zoological matters referred to in the Talmud (seminal texts of the Jewish oral law), reports...

Jerusalem Cardo Mosaics
A ceremony to inaugurate a new tourism project took place at the Roman Cardo in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter this past summer, to mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. Several government agencies have joined forces to restore a replica of a Byzantine-era mosaic to the Cardo and add nine new...

GetGuide
“GetGuide has been developed as a solution for professionals in the tourist industry that require a last-minute tour guide. That is the core idea around which we’ve built the product,” explains company Founder Jonathan Shores. The GetGuide website provides a list of immediate or next-day options from a roster of more than 500 licensed tour guides, with a current user base...

Eager Tourist
Eager Tourist offers tailor-made travel experiences from a locale perspective, permitting tourists the opportunity to explore parts of Tel Aviv via customized itineraries by local tastemakers. “Our idea is the antithesis of the standard tour group model,” Founder Ross Belfer says. “The tours are...

Ministry Indian Marketing
Late this past summer the Israel Ministry of Tourism launched its first major TV advertising campaign in India to promote incoming tourism to Israel. Highlighted under the slogan: “On most vacations, you take a trip. But in Israel, you take a journey,” the campaign uses visual elements to underline Israel’s rich mix of history, culture and vibrant, contemporary lifestyle. The Ministry has tripled its marketing budget this year for the Indian market, which it views as one of the major emerging markets for incoming tourism to Israel. The two-month campaign, at an investment of ILS six million, featured a TV commercial, as well as advertisements and marketing content in leading travel and consumer print media in India, with a significant presence in social media. The TV campaign complemented other marketing activity in social and digital media, travel trade promotions (such as the roadshows...

The Evolving Prima City
With the opening of the newly renovated rooms on the top floor and the inauguration of its new lobby/reception and restaurant floor on the entrance level, the Prima City Hotel, purchased by Prima Hotels three years ago, has completed the next stage of its renovations, upgrading and rebranding process. “When we bought the 96-room hotel from Atlas Hotels in 2013, we added 10 rooms...

NEA Hotel Opens
NEA Hotel, a holiday resort complex located on Moshav Shavei Zion in the Western Galilee, opened its doors in early November. It is the second hotel project by Arik Semama and Udi Krieger, who co-own The Rothschild 71 boutique hotel in Tel Aviv. “We invested around ILS 25 million into renovating what was the Beit Hava Guesthouse and later the Hofit Hotel, a building...

Hotel Shani
“We’re situated in the epicenter of Jerusalem, within walking distance from all the major sites including Mahana Yehuda Market, Mamilla Mall and the Old City” says Hotel Shani CEO Eli Bliah. The Shani, which opened in July 2015, was recently awarded a three star plus rating from the Israel Ministry of Tourism, based...

Hotel Montefiore Business Packages
Hotel Montefiore, a 12-room boutique property in central Tel Aviv, has launched its “TLV Business and Leisure” package, available Sunday-Wednesdays throughout January 2017. The package includes a two-night stay in a single occupancy room, happy hour drink both evenings at the hotel bar, an a la carte breakfast, 60-minute in-room massage treatment, $75 gift card ...

Village Hotel to Open
TravelHotels has added the Village Hotel, scheduled to open this coming December, as its fifth Galilee property, alongside hotels in Metulla, Gesher Haziv, Malkiya and Elion. The new hotel has signed a 25-year contract with Kibbutz Sde Nehemia, where it is situated. The Village Hotel, which features 72 wooden...

September 2016 Incoming Stats
According to statistics by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), about 284,100 people from abroad visited Israel in September 2016, up from the September 2015 figure of 257,500, an increase of more than 10 percent. Of the visitors arriving this past September, 265,500 were classified as bona fide tourists (those spending at least one...

Abu Ghosh Tourism
“We have enormous tourism potential,” states Issa Jabber, head of the Abu Ghosh Regional Council. “I had a meeting with Yariv Levin, the Minister of Tourism, not long ago, and he thinks so too: our strategic geographical location - near Jerusalem and on the Ottoman-period road to the Holy City; New Stone Age archeological finds from about 10,000 years ago; references in both...

New Wing at Beit Hatfutsot - The Museum of the Jewish People
Beit Hatfutsot - the Museum of the Jewish People has completed phase one of its two-phase renewal campaign to present the story of the Jewish people through new multimedia and technology. Plans for the development were approved by the Israel Government five years ago, with a 20 percent share of the $100 million investment from both the Government and private...

Church of the Holy Sepulcher Discovery
A team of conservationists from the National Technical University of Athens has discovered the original surface of what tradition holds to be the tomb of Jesus, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The revelation occurred during recent restoration work carried out at the site. After removing the marble slab that rested on top of the tomb, known as the...

Start IL Innovation Tours
“Our vision at Startil is to highlight the startup and entrepreneurial culture of Israel to groups from around the world in a face to face setting,” says Co-founder Tamar Shvebish. “We want to transfer our knowledge and energy in an exciting format, while also extending support to local startups.” Established in 2014 by five co-founders as a social enterprise to showcase Israeli innovation to incoming tourists, Start IL, a self-funded...

Ministry Marketing Budget
“Our budget is larger than ever before, and our marketing budget in particular, and I’m also pleased with the fact that Israel has moved back to a two-year budget; this means we have the latitude to plan our marketing campaigns in advance, develop new approaches and targets and not have to worry that we don’t know how much money we’ll have,” explains Israel Ministry of Tourism Director General Amir Halevy. With an annual budget for this year and the next of ILS 1.1 billion (about $293 million), nearly 50 percent of which has been earmarked for marketing purposes - up from about ILS 200 million, which it was granted until now. About 80 percent of its new ILS 500 million marketing budget, will go for advertising and promotion, PR activities, and marketing agreements with agents and operators, with the remainder earmarked for budgeting the Ministry’s Israel Government Tourism Office branches abroad, and some other relatively...

Three Nights in Tel Aviv
By Leoni Jesner I’ve been living in Tel Aviv for a year - a substantial chunk of time to experience the city which I’ve come to identify as a playground of self-expression, bursting with energy and historical tales set amid flashes of design-forward sophistication in an evolving backdrop. This city, distinguished by its liberal spirit, start-up culture, flourishing...