In 2006, fewer than 3 million tourists visited Israel, in 2017 more than 3.6 million, and in 2018 their number is expected to reach 4 million – an all-time high, and a 40% growth in two years. The reasons? A whopping 57 new low-cost routes opening over the last couple of years, numerous promotional campaigns branding Israel as a country of sea, sun, recreation and culinary adventure, and, of course, the relative security calm without street knifing and car ramming in the major cities.
Most tourists come from the United States, followed by France and Russia. Poland, in seventh place, showed a 230% increase in the number of tourist arrivals, followed by Romania and China.
The average single tourist spends an average of $204 a day while in Israel, bringing the overall income to the local economy from tourism to $11 billion.
Which is why on Sunday the government embraced a proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin to increase the quota of foreign workers in the hotel sector. The new quota was set at up to 2,000 experienced foreign workers who will be employed in the hotel industry in housekeeping.
Sunday’s government decision adds to a previous increase in the quota of Jordanian workers in the Eilat area. The increased quota, which will be implemented while encouraging Israelis to seek employment in the local tourism industry, is not expected to adversely impact Israeli employment figures—which are robust. The new quota will help the acute manpower shortage in the tourism industry, as well as lower prices.
The lack of manpower in housekeeping is one of the most difficult problems facing hotel operations in Israel, exacerbated by the huge increase in tourism. Turns out Israelis don’t like cleaning up after visiting foreigners. Who knew?