By Jonathan Benedek/TPS
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon presented a national plan earlier on Wednesday, November 11 that aims to reduce vacationing costs in Israel.
“We are jointly presenting today a broad national program that, for the first time, deals with the core issues of tourism and creates a historical procedure which, according to professional sources, will reduce the cost of vacationing in Israel by about 20% over five years,” explained Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “This is a step that will be felt in the pocket of each and everyone of us.”
As part of the plan introduced by Ministers Levin and Kahlon, approximately 15,000 hotel rooms will be built over the next five years and 27,000 hotel rooms over the next ten years. The increase in the number of hotel rooms is meant to increase competition, helping to reduce vacation costs by about twenty percent.
Additionally, hotels will be considered “national infrastructure,” allowing for the approval process of hotel construction by the National Infrastructure Committee, to be much more fluid and quick.
In particular, the plan seeks to make an easier business environment for entrepreneurs in the hotel industry. “The program will ensure that entrepreneurs will not be forced to go through the bureaucratic ordeals, and the construction of a hotel in Israel will no longer be a dream,” Levin said.
The plan also attempts to minimize risk for entrepreneurs. Independent local committees for example, will be able to approve up to 20% of hotel rights for residential purposes, helping to reduce risk assumed by entrepreneurs in a hotel project.
“We are providing an answer and a solution to entrepreneurs and investors from Israel and overseas that, until now, have been prevented from investing in hotels in Israel, and we are reducing the economic risk inherent in investment,” explained Levin pointing to the potential benefits for entrepreneurs.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Chairman of the Kulanu Party echoed Minister Levin’s remarks. “Strengthening the tourism sector in these times in particular is in the national interest,” said Kahlon.
“Shortening the procedures for planning and construction in the industry joins the other initiatives in the housing market that we are leading, by removing the obstacles and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy,” continued Kahlon. “We will continue to work to increase competition, reduce the cost of living and ease the lives of citizens in all spheres of life.”
Bureaucratic hurdles and a shortfall of hotel rooms pushed Ministers Levin and Kahlon to initiate reforms in the hotel industry. Despite the construction of approximately 3,000 new hotel rooms in Israel over the last decade, the cost for overnight hotel accommodations increased by about 70% over the same time period.
The national plan aims to match supply with increasing demand and is scheduled to be presented for government approval on Sunday, November 15.