Tourists in Israel Say Not Getting Their Money’s Worth

Hotels too expensive, public transportation insufficient, Tourism Ministry survey finds.

Eyal Toueg

Tourists in Israel are relatively dissatisfied with what they get for their money, according to a survey of incoming tourism for 2013 conducted by the Tourism Ministry. The level of satisfaction has dropped sharply since a similar survey in 2010, though it has remained somewhat steady over the past three years.

But despite the high costs for tourist vacations in Israel, the survey found that almost half of all tourists are returning tourists – 45% of those surveyed have visited Israel more than once. Of the returning tourists, 58% have visited Israel within the past two years.

“Because of the growth in tourism to Israel and the weakening of the dollar, there has been a price increase in all the components of the package, with lodging being the most significant expense in the package,” said the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association.

The higher price of tourism packages causes tourists to spend less time in Israel, and makes it a less attractive destination. More three- and four-star hotels are needed, said the association.

Public transportation also received a low rating from tourists. The problems include infrequent service, a lack of information in languages other than Hebrew and a lack of service to tourist sites. Tourists were also somewhat disappointed with the car rental industry.

Not all tourists stay in hotels – 25% are hosted by relatives or friends, while 5% sleep in rented apartments and 62% solely in hotels or other resorts. The majority of tourists – 62% – opt for less pricey hotels to save money, and only 19% stay at the most expensive hotels.

Relative to other categories, tourists were more satisfied with their sense of personal security, tour guides and organized tours, archaeological sites, nature and the environment, and the facilities at the airports.

The Tourism Ministry conducted and paid for the annual survey, and participants were interviewed as they were leaving the country.