|By Dalia Tal, Globes, Tel Aviv,
IsraelMcClatchy-Tribune Business News
Oct. 9, 2006 - The Israel Hotel Association expects the number of visits to Israel by businesspeople and tourists to fall by 50 percent in 2007, with the occupancy rate in hotels falling to 40 percent from 70 percent in 2005.
The Hotel Association believes that the local tourism industry will have difficulty overcoming the present crisis, if the Ministry of Tourism does not launch the promised campaign promoting tourism and business visits to Israel. This will mean job losses and the closure of entire hotel wings.
Hotel Association president Eli Gonen warned that hotels are likely to stand empty as soon as the Succot holiday is over, with no new bookings in the offing from tourists or businesspeople.
Gonen stressed that while the businesspeople market is unpredictable and may yet revive as the sense of safety in Israel increases, the tourism market needs large-scale support from the Ministry of Tourism in the form of promotional campaigns, without which nothing will move forward. The ministry's current budget for advertising was too small to generate the eagerly-awaited change, and if this remains the case, Israel will vanish off the face of the global tourism map, warned Gonen.
Copyright (c) 2006, Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel
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