Photo Credit: Wikimedia / r Rhododendrites
Har Gamal viewpoint (Camel Hill or Camel Lookout, so called because it vaguely resembles a camel) in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. On a cliff overlooking Makhtesh Ramon, facing west on March 14, 2017

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) has announced the winners of the tender, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, for the construction of 780 guestrooms in four plots in the ‘Spice Route’ tourism quarter of Mitzpe Ramon, more than doubling the current inventory.

The tender related to two lots, to build 130 accommodation units in each lot, and two lots to build 260 units in each lot. The project will have minimal impact on the unique nature and climate of Mitzpe Ramon, the ministry said.

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There are currently about 700 guest rooms in Mitzpe Ramon.

A total of 65 bids were presented and examined by the Israel Ministry of Tourism, with most receiving the recommendation of the ministry to the Israel Land Authority. Of those, 23 bids were submitted to the tender in the ILA.

There was a significant gap between the minimum price (hundreds of thousands of shekels) and the amount of the winning bids (millions of shekels), indicating the attractiveness of investing in Mitzpe Ramon in particular and the region in general, the ministry said.

“This is another successful marketing of land for hotels, which will significantly expand the variety and supply of guestrooms for domestic and international tourism in Mitzpe Ramon, which is continuing to develop, and answer the growing need for hotels throughout the country and the Negev in particular,” said Yaacov Kwint, Director of Israel Land Authority.

“The tender will also directly and indirectly expand employment opportunities and will help economic growth in the city and the area as a result of the hotels’ construction of hotels and the related services.”

The Ministry of Tourism said it encourages grants at a rate of up to 20 percent of the investment for entrepreneurs wishing to establish hotels in Mitzpe Ramon.

The purpose of the program is the creation of a varied tourist center in Mitzpe Ramon which integrates into the landscapes of the town.

The tourist quarter will include hotels, special housing (studio apartments / student dormitories), a promenade, sports facilities, commercial and employment areas, a new park and forest.

“The actions we are taking in the Ministry of Tourism are encouraging entrepreneurs to establish hotels, increasing competition and bringing down the cost of vacationing in Israel by increasing the supply of tourist accommodation in Israel,” said Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov.

“As a result, we are witness to the great interest shown by entrepreneurs to build hotels in Mitzpe Ramon. Initiatives like this one are establishing the right infrastructure, which will help us as a state to meet the objective we have set ourselves of 10 million tourists a year by 2030.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.