Tel Aviv Aborts Plan for Eurovision Tent City

Plan sinks after no firms respond to tender to put up the site

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Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, speaks during the Eurovision Semi-Final allocation draw, in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel January 28, 2019.
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, speaks during the Eurovision Semi-Final allocation draw, in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel January 28, 2019. Credit: \ CORINNA KERN/ REUTERS

Tel Aviv City Hall has had to back out of its plan to set up tents to house fans attending the Eurovision song contest in May.

The reason? No firms have responded to a tender to put up the site. The municipality also failed to get the Nature and Parks Authority to support the project, so on Monday it formally canceled the idea.

The city had issued a tender for the project in January in an effort to offer cheaper accommodations than those on offer at the hotels. The plan was to build a temporary campsite in Ganei Yehoshua, within walking distance of the Tel Aviv Expo pavilion where Eurovision 2019 is to be held.

The tent city was also aimed at relieving traffic congestion since the contest’s venue is far from the city center, especially for Saturday’s final round, where public transportation will be an issue since the competition starts very soon after the end of Shabbat. There were hopes of keeping the campsite in place for another two months after the contest, at least through June’s annual Gay Pride festivities.

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Several levels of accommodations were going to be offered, from those costing similar to a hostel to holiday apartments. At the cheapest level the price would have come to around 250 shekels a night ($69) for those bringing basic supplies, even a tent, along with them to the site. The next level prices were for “glamping” – for luxurious tents at a higher level of comfort for 600-800 shekels a night. The most expensive was to have come to around 1,000 shekels a night for an air-conditioned trailer home, complete with shower and rest room. The site was to have offered other forms of rest room amenities and showers for other guests, and entertainment centers, food and drink stalls, and a bicycle rental rack, in addition to shuttles back and forth to the Euro Village, the center where the competition is to be held.

After Tel Aviv issued tenders for the planned tent city, Rishon Letzion had plans to follow suit with the aim of reaping some benefits from Eurovision-generated tourism. Rishon had hoped to build a tent city across six dunams and to see about offering shuttles to the competition site in Tel Aviv. But it never followed through on these plans.

The Rishon Letzion Municipality said in response, “The tender isn’t being issued due to scheduling concerns.”

The Tel Aviv Municipality said in response that it is “working to create an extraordinary experience for tourists arriving at Eurovision. Unfortunately the tent city initiative didn’t succeed due to a lack of response by entrepreneurs to the tender. However, the camping idea is but one of an infinite number of initiatives we have planned for Eurovision, which are aimed at easing the way for tourists and helping them enjoy the activities and events the city has to offer.”