Tourism returns to north for Sukkot

Monday, October 09, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
It seems like the holiday of Sukkot came just in time. The tourism operators and site owners in the north could not have asked for a better holiday gift: tourists. And lots of them.

Hundreds and thousands of tourists, both from Israel and abroad, have flocked to the tourists sites and nature reserves in the north of Israel over the past holiday weekend with capacity levels higher than ever in the parks and occupancy in the 90 percent levels in Galilee hotels and guest houses.

But according to local tourism operators, the rush of vacationers to the north is only about to increase over the entire week-long vacation. Tiberius hotels which experienced only about 65 percent occupancy over the weekend are expected to increase to 85 percent for the week.

Other northern attractions such as kayaking on the Jordan and the Banias rivers and the nature sanctuary in the Hula valley have all reported high numbers of visitors over the weekend with even better numbers expected for the week.

Traditionally, Sukkot is the holiday of festivals, which this year takes on greater importance than ever. The three main cultural festivals this year take place in the cities of the north who were hit hard by the war this summer: The prestigious Haifa International Film Festival, the Akko Festival for Fringe Theatre, and the Carmiel Dance Festival which was rescheduled for Sukkot because of the war.

But it is not only the north which is getting plenty of tourists. The Jewish National Fund is reporting that parks and recreation sites in the center and the south are also packed with visitors. One issue which is most burning to the parks and forests authorities in Israel is the cleanliness of the parks during the holiday. The JNF is happy to report that despite the huge number of visitors to the parks and reserves, the cleanliness of the areas has been kept, and the awareness level of the visitors to the environment is higher than ever.

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