Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israeli scientists taking part in a project simulates life in Mars, outside Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel, February 18, 2018, the D-MARS project is a a space analog research center in Israel, its founded by Israeli Space Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space. February 2018)

The Israeli government has approved the development of two plots for tourism complexes in the Negev, one in Be’er Sheva River Park, and the other in Mitzpe Ramon, further south.

“Especially during this period, continued entrepreneurship and infrastructure development in the tourism industry is of paramount importance,” said Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen.


“Emphasis should be placed on strengthening tourism infrastructure projects as part of the economic growth engines in the Israeli economy, against the background of the corona crisis.

“The construction of new tourism complexes in the Negev is a direct continuation of our objective to develop the Negev and the Arava. We are currently working on the development of the ‘desert tourism product’, which has huge potential and will lead to economic growth and increased employment opportunities in the area.”

The plan for the park calls for the establishment of an overnight parking lot (camping) that will include about 250 beds, as well as related sports and leisure facilities. In Mitzpe Ramon, a plan has been approved for the construction of a hotel that will include 70 accommodation units located in the urban area of Mitzpe Ramon. This, in line with the urban planning trend, which is based on the principle of integrating tourism and hotels within residential areas.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism is continuing to develop tourism infrastructure and strengthen existing infrastructure, in preparation for tourism that will return in due course despite the global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent years, the Ministry of Tourism has been developing tourism in the Negev (the ‘desert tourism product’). This includes, among others, the establishment of cycling trails and hospitality complexes that are suited to the desert landscape and atmosphere, such as the Kedma Hotel near Sde Boker, which was built with the help of a grant from the Ministry of Tourism.

The pandemic put an abrupt halt to incoming tourism, which peaked in 2019 with over 4.55 million tourists. Tourism was the first industry to be hit by the crisis and is expected to be the last to recover, due to the imposition of severe global restrictions.

In light of the crisis, Tourism Ministry officials said the focus will be on maintaining and improving tourism infrastructure and preserving the human capital of the industry, so that they will be able, once again, to make their contribution to the growth of the Israeli economy.

The Ministry of Tourism operates the desert tourism product development program with the aim of strengthening the Negev and the Arava. The ministry supports entrepreneurs and develops tourism infrastructure, including the establishment of dedicated tourism complexes. For example, the ministry provides grants that encourage the establishment of accommodation and hospitality infrastructure at various levels. The ministry believes that the economic development potential of the Negev region will significantly contribute to the region’s economy and the development of employment opportunities in the periphery.


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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, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.