Israel deals with Eilat tourism crash

  • HaZikaron15b
Israel will subsidise European tourists to the Red Sea resort. Says Tourism Minister Dr Uzi Landau: "We welcome this directive which is a breakthrough that will lead to significantly increased tourism traffic to Eilat. The tourism ministry has said it will offer a €45 (R587 at today’s exchange rate) incentive per passenger to airlines flying directly to Ovdah airport in the winter season of 2015/2016 – to promote Eilat which has seen a seventy-odd per cent drop in tourists.
by ANT KATZ | Apr 22, 2015

The ministry is investing great effort in bringing foreign tourists back to Eilat, said Landau.

HaZikaron15 HOME“After investigating alternatives to incentivising charter and scheduled flights into Ovdah, we found that this is indeed the best incentive,” he said.

RIGHT: Eilat's famous Red Sea beaches

“Tourism accounts for about 80 per cent of Eilat’s economy and this process will strengthen all the different sectors that are dependent on tourism."

To obtain the incentives, however, aviation companies will have to fly direct to Ovdah, the airport that serves the southern resort city of Eilat.


LEFT: Eilat swings all night

Eilat has suffered from a drop of tens of percentage points in incoming tourism from Europe following last August’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

In addition, incoming tourism is also affected by the economic crisis in Russia, which is the second largest source country for incoming tourism (after the US), says the ministry.

War, recession and Russia

They are also struggling to meet the relative competitor prices offered by other Mediterranean destinations whose crashed currencies have made them cheaper.


ABOVE: Eilat has 50 hotels of differing standards, with some 12 000 rooms.

During the winter season (September 2013 to February 2014), about 40 000 tourists went to Eilat. Last winter, that figure declined dramatically to just 12 000 tourists – or one for each hotel room available.

HaZikaron15aThere were between 3 and 4 weekly flights arriving from Europe in the 2014/2015 season as opposed to 15 to 20 weekly flights in the previous winter.

RIGHT: Eilat's coral reefs attract seasoned divers and novices alike

The decline from Russia has been even greater: During 2015 only 2 weekly flights flew into Ovdah, as opposed to 8 to 9 direct flights in 2014. In order to increase the number of international direct flights into Ovdah, a financial incentive for the airlines was required, explained the ministry.

A similar incentive will be offered for the low-season period between Succot 2015 and Pesach 2016 for up to 80 000 tourists. The directive is addressed to aviation companies and tourism wholesalers and any other tourism body who operates charter or scheduled flights into Ovdah from any international destination.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Denis Solomons 23 Apr
    Eilat is a lovely destination ; it is difficult to understand that it is having difficulty in luring tourists !
    One of the highlights of the area is the underwater/sea aquarium which was  built or designed by an ex- South African !
    I still have my cap from the underwater aquarium and the  Americana Hotel was lovely ; it had a huge ,luxurious swimming pool .
    It also has a nice Hilton Hotel there ; absolutely first and world class.
    We flew from Tel Aviv to Eilat and back .It is like " Sun City " at the sea.


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