Israeli Hotel Room Shortages Force Tour Groups to Cancel Trips

The number of tourists coming to visit is limited not by the security situation but by hotel room availability, says head of tour operators association

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Tourists visit the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, 2015.
Tourists visit the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Tour operators are reporting that they’re being forced to reject groups looking to book trips in Israel next year due to a shortage of hotel rooms.

The operators are reporting a lack of availability in April through June of 2018, as well as the fall months.

“It’s not the security situation limiting the number of tourists visiting Israel, but rather the infrastructure,” said Yossi Fattal, head of the Incoming Tour Operators Association.

Given the high demand, hotel prices can be expected to be 10% to 20% higher next year than they were this year, but that’s not what’s holding tourists back, he said.

“The fact is we’re seeing more and more groups that want to sign up and are willing to pay the price, which is currently at an all-time high. And of course these prices apply to everyone, both individual tourists and groups,” he said.

“Currently they’re fighting for every room. The operators are ensuring that all the groups that have committed to come actually show up, and that’s not something accepted to do in this field several months in advance,” he said.

So far his organization has failed to find a way to increase the number of available rooms, he said. It has considered options such as bringing in a cruise ship to dock in a harbor and provide an extra 2,000 temporary rooms, for instance, he said.

One reason for the high demand is the upcoming celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary. All hotel rooms are booked for Israel’s next Independence Day, he said.

Amnon Ben David, CEO of Eshet Incoming Tours, noted that he had received a booking from a group of 150 Americans who wanted to stay up north in March. He was forced to split the group up between several kibbutzim in the area, he said. Another would-be reservation, for 480 Brazilians in the fall, sought rooms in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Ben David said he couldn’t find the groups enough rooms in either city.

“Last year I had no problem finding rooms in either city 10 months in advance for this size group,” he said.

Individual tourists do not face the same limitations, and often book in hostels or through AirBnb.

Incoming tourism increased 24% this year compared to 2016.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage