Tourism up 41 percent from last year

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 |  staff writer

This has been an overall good year for tourism in Israel as more than 936,000 tourists have visited the country, a 41 percent increase from the same time in the previous year.

The Tourism Ministry is well within range of reaching its goals of bringing 2.8 million tourists a year to Israel.

Yet, the tourism ministry fears an increase in the number of people visiting Israel will lead to a shortage of 15,000 hotel rooms. To prepare for the coming years budgeting and building for some 2,500 additional hotel rooms are in the works.

“Tourism Ministry efforts to see at least 2.8 million tourists come here in 2008 (an overall increase of more than 20 percent) and 5 million tourists by 2012 are in danger of seeing a shortage of almost 15,000 within several short years if new rooms aren’t built,” Shaul Tzemah, director-general of the Tourism Ministry said.

“The expected economic damage to the Tourism Ministry and to the market in general as a result of this shortage will be tens of millions of dollars a year,” Tzemah added.

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