The Ministry of Tourism continues to work to develop tourism infrastructure and promote the ‘desert product’. The plan includes plots for the construction of new tourist complexes in Nahal Beer Sheva Park and Mitzpe Ramon. In the park, it will be possible to set up an integrated overnight parking lot (camping) that will include about 250 beds as well as related sports and leisure facilities. In Mitzpe Ramon, a plan has been approved for the construction of an urban hotel that will include 70 accommodation units. The hotel will be built in an area located in the urban and built-up area of the locality. The decision to build the lot is in line with the urban planning trend, which is based on the principle of combining useful tourism and hotels within residential areas.
Despite the global economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19, the Ministry of Tourism continues to develop the tourism infrastructure and strengthen the existing ones in preparation for tourism that will return in due course. In recent years, the Ministry of Tourism has been developing tourism in the Negev (the ‘desert product’). As part of this, bicycle paths, accommodation complexes were established that match the landscape and the desert atmosphere, including the Kedma Hotel near Sde Boker, which was built with the help of a grant from the Ministry of Tourism.
The COVID-19 crisis interrupted the continued growth in inbound tourism, which peaked in 2019 with over 4 million tourists. Tourism was the first to be hit by the crisis and is expected to recover last because of the severe restrictions imposed around the world. In light of the crisis, the Ministry of Tourism decided to focus on preserving and nurturing the tourist infrastructure and preserving the human capital of the industry so that they can return to growing and contributing to the Israeli economy.
The Ministry of Tourism operates within the framework of the desert product development program with the aim of strengthening the Negev and the Arava. The ministry supports entrepreneurs and develops tourism infrastructure, including the construction of dedicated tourist complexes. For example, by providing grants, the ministry encourages the establishment of accommodation and hospitality infrastructure at various levels. The ministry believes that the economic development potential of the Negev region will significantly contribute to the region’s economy and the development of employment supply in the periphery.