Proving to be another strong year for Israel, the destination saw a 28% increase in incoming tourism this past February compared to the same period last year, and a 57% increase since February 2016. With continued record-breaking tourism growth and an expected 4 million visitors in 2018, hotels are cropping up all over Israel to meet increasing demand. Israel is continuing to rise to the top of bucket lists worldwide with world-class events like Giro d’Italia and Tel Aviv Pride. In addition, new transportation developments are making it easier than ever before for travelers to plan their visit.
The Dave – In February, Brown Hotels, an international hotel brand founded in Tel Aviv, officially unveiled The Dave – West, the inaugural property is a new brand of low cost urban hotels in Tel Aviv. This new line of properties, referred to en masse as “The Dave – Sons of a Brown,” will aim to diversify the boutique hotel brand’s offerings by providing more accessible accommodations for the young urban traveler. Designed by homegrown Israeli designer Agnon Granot, the hotel is located on the Bauhaus architecture-lined Gordon Street and deviates from the brand’s trademark aesthetic with an approach to hospitality that is more lively than lavish, more playful than posh. The Dave is what happens when The Brown lets its hair down. The newest hotel in the brand, called The Dave South, will debut in August in the Nahalat Binyamin area, located in the heart of Tel Aviv. Make sure to plan a visit over a Tuesday or Friday to visit the Nahalat Binyamin Market, which features a variety of arts and crafts presented by over 200 local artists.
The Drisco – After a $35 million investment and more than a decade of intensive work led by Architect and Interior Designer Mr. Ari Shaltiel, The Drisco hotel is taking reservations for June 2018. The hotel presents a unique mixture of old world elegance and new world comforts in a prime Tel Aviv location. The property is steps away from the beaches, Rothschild Blvd, the charming neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, Jaffa’s flea market and Old Jaffa.
Tel Aviv Pride – Tel Aviv hosts the only public gay pride parade in the entire Middle East, which is held annually the first weekend of June. Tel Aviv Pride is the second largest Pride in the world and the biggest of all in Asia and the Middle East. Over the past few years, more than 100,000 Israelis and tourists have attended Tel Aviv Pride. The festivities kick off on June 3, and all week-long locals and visitors attend a surge of gay-friendly events taking place across the city. Every summer, people of every gender, religion and color flood the streets of Tel Aviv for Pride and get together for a celebration of acceptance, love and joy. On June 8, the big parade begins at Gan Meir Park and travels through the city ending with a large celebration at the Tel Aviv Beach, particularly, Hilton and Gordon Beach.
Giro d’Italia – From May 4-6, 2018, the world-famous Giro d’Italia, one of the biggest events in the global sporting calendar, will kick off in Jerusalem. This year is the first time in history that a Grand Tour has taken place outside of Europe and will be one of the most prestigious sporting events ever held in Israel. The event will see 176 of the world’s top cyclists begin the competition against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s Old City. Over the following two days, the competitors will ride from the North of Israel to the tip of the Red Sea, taking in breathtaking views from start to finish. The Giro will finish three weeks laterin Italy, on May 22. As a result, the 2018 Giro will carry a strong message of peace and coexistence, with its journey representing the ability of sport to build bridges between people, religions and nations.
Tower of David Light Show – On April 1, the Tower of David Museum will roll out a brand new night experience called King David, in which the majestic story of David – from shepherd-to-king – comes to life in a completely new cinematic production projected onto the walls and archaeological excavations of the ancient citadel. The production uses art, film and music to tell the timeless story of David in a multi-disciplinary celebration of color that illuminates the citadel at night. The outdoor show runs for 45 minutes and ticket prices start at around $11.50 USD for children to $18.50 USD for adults.
Publica Isrotel Herzliya – The new Publica Isrotel hotel, located at the heart of Herzliya Pituach’s thriving hi-tech district is the perfect urban destination for guests seeking a new hospitality experience that intertwines business and pleasure. Presented by Marriott International’s prestigious Autograph Collection, the Publica Isrotel provides a contemporary setting that caters to modern business needs, yet also supplies networking opportunities, entertainment, music, inspiration and a convenient spot to refresh and recharge between meetings. The new property features a rooftop pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, inviting lobby bar and collaborative workspace, perfectly suited for the hotel’s “People Meeting People” concept.
KEDMA Hotel – In spring 2018, the TravelHotels chain is opening the Kedma Hotel, which will be located in the Negev Desert. The hotel is the first property of the brand to open in the south of Israel, and is joining five other properties in the portfolio, all of which are located in the Galilee. The hotel will feature 95 rooms, public areas, a lounge, open swimming pool and covered bathhouse, a restaurant and bar and two event halls. Another 38 additional rooms will be added at a future stage. The hotel will have a regional tourist center and will serve desert travelers and hotel guests with a variety of activities suitable for couples and families – including hikes, camel rides, bike rides and off-road tours.
- Ben Gurion – Just in time for the Easter and Passover high season, Ben Gurion’s new passenger wing, E Wing in Terminal 3, is open for business. The new wing will increase capacity at Terminal 3 by 1,800 passengers per hour. The new wing includes waiting areas, eight gates to aircraft, four gates to buses, stores, restaurants, business lobbies, technical, logistical and cargo facilities and areas for maintenance services for the airlines. In addition, the wing includes telescopic glass entryways and bridges to aircraft, some of which are double bridges for wide-bodies aircraft, that will allow for passengers to board and disembark from both the front and the back of the plane at the same time. In 2017, almost 20.8 million passengers travelled through Ben-Gurion, according to data from the Israel Aviation Authority, a sharp increase from 17.9 million in 2016.
- New Airline Routes:
- United Airlines – Beginning in May 2018, United Airlines will use ER 777-300 airliners with 366 seats for its San Francisco to Tel Aviv route. This adds an additional 2,000 seats per week on the route, which was originally using an aircraft with 219 seats. As a result, the ticket prices are decreasing by $300 per ticket.
- El Al – In other good news for travelers based in San Francisco, starting in November 2018, El Al Airlines will begin operating three weekly direct flights on the Tel Aviv-San Francisco route on a 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
About the Israel Ministry of Tourism:
The Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT), is Israel’s national tourism agency responsible for planning and implementing marketing and promotional initiatives to position Israel as a preferred travel destination. IMOT aims to increase tourism traffic to contribute to Israel’s economy, and to enhance and diversify the visiting experience. IMOT works to promote Israel’s impressive assortment of historical, cultural, culinary and religious attractions – each the perfect blend of tradition and modernity. IMOT offices in North America are located in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto.