Ashdod.
The Ashdod coast. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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An Israeli hotel chain wants to turn the rocket-ridden city of Ashdod in southern Israel into the "southern Riviera."

David Fattal, the CEO of Fattal Hotels, is going ahead with plans to open the latest addition to its 32-strong chain in September, despite the ongoing security situation, which has hit the tourism industry hard, Globes reported.

Tourist arrivals in Israel dropped 26 percent in last month after Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip began in early July, according to government figures. This put an abrupt end to what had been shaping up as a record year for the airline and hotel industries.. 

"We believe in Israeli tourism and we will continue to invest here and bring tourists from Israel and abroad to the southern region. Ashdod has one of the most beautiful coastal strips in Israel and in a time of peace can become, like Ashkelon, the southern Riviera," Globes cited Fattal as saying. 

The chain is spending $1.4 million in renovating the 183-room Leonardo Plaza Ashdod. The hotel's clients will be mainly Russian and French tourists, as well as Israelis travelling on business, Globes reported.