As Israel prepares to host the second Israel Hotel Investment Summit (IHIS), part of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) series, we consider the current conditions in the region’s hospitality market, the indisputable strengths of the buoyant market and the challenges that must be addressed for a sustained, strong performance.
The data is impressive and largely speaks for itself: tourism in Israel is booming. Overnight stays increased in July and August 2019 by 5% – a total of 1.66 million overnight stays – compared to the same period last year. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were the most popular destinations netting 33% and 31% of overnight stays, respectively. Taking a broader view across the year from January to August, tourist arrivals to Israel increased by approximately 10% compared with 2018. Travel for religious purposes remains the highest motivating factors with backpackers and family travellers arriving in increasing numbers.
According to German travel site, OMIO, Tel Aviv is ranked as the third most expensive city in the world for tourists, behind Hong Kong and London. This real, as well as perceived expense, is harmful as international travellers consider their destination options. This unwelcome accolade also impacts domestic tourism as Israelis regularly choose to travel outside their country for a better value tourism experience.
Demand drivers are essential for a sustainable tourism destination and form an integral part of an intelligent tourism strategy. Whilst the Ministry of Tourism has set the ambitious target of welcoming 5 million tourists by the end of 2019 (2.6 million tourist entries had been recorded as of August 2019), there remains neglect of a number of tourist sites across the country which should be addressed and rectified in order to add to the plethora of attractions for tourists visiting Israel.
Alexi Khajavi, Managing Director, EMEA & Chair, Questex Hospitality Group said; “The Israeli hotel investment market occupies a healthy position but also one of considerable opportunity. The strong tourist figures and ambitious targets set by the Ministry of Tourism provide a robust platform but there is also the demand for budget and mid-level offerings that is turning the heads of international operators and investors. Coupled with the thirst for a design led offering that is also permeating into the hostel markets, there is plenty for the industry to debate and discuss. We’re delighted to be hosting the Israel Hotel Investment Summit for a second year and look forward to bringing the leaders, pioneers, challengers and disruptors from across the industry together in Tel Aviv next month”.
Israel Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said: “I welcome IHIS, the most important conference in its field in Israel, which will contribute to increased momentum in hotel development and increased competition in the industry”.
Israel is one of the oldest countries and civilizations in the world, but beyond the country’s cultural and religious importance is a traveller’s paradise. For all of Israel’s allure, there remains a lack of accommodation and therefore opportunities for successful investment.