The Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association held its annual conference at the Tel Aviv Hilton on Tuesday and, while the attendees were from the tourism industry, some of the speakers were not, adding an element of quality and color to the event.
Some of the speakers included Joanna Landau, director of Vibe Israel; Shirley Yuval Yair, psychologist and musician; Shaul Goldstein from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority; Dr. Micah Goodman, a fellow at the Shalom Hartmann Institute; and Amir Halevy, director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.
Speaking to Israel Travel News, Yossi Fatael, CEO of the IITOA, said Israel’s incoming tourism industry is doing well. Not only that, but it is doing too well. He said Israel is experiencing a moment of “over-tourism.” This is mainly due to the fact that many of the tourist sites have not been upgraded to handle the massive influx of tourists now arriving in Israel.
While last year, Israel saw just over 4.1 million tourists, Fatael said he expects that number to reach 4.5 million by the end of 2019.
Israel’s tourism infrastructure needs to change, he said, and that change must come from the councils, various authorities and of course the Ministry of Tourism, all of whom are on board. But, he warned, it will take time until real changes take place.