In March, about 923,000 tourist nights were recorded at Israeli hotels, down about six percent from 2011, according to figures released, Monday, by the Israel Hotel Association. Aggressive marketing and the lowering of prices during the month led to an increase in hotel stays by Israelis that cut the overall decline to one percent. The overall occupancy rate stood at 64 percent, down three percent from last year.
Referring to anti-government uprisings in nearby countries, association president Ami Federman said, "It has been a year since the start of the 'Arab Spring'. We are experiencing a drop in the traditional, classical, pilgrim tourism, which intensified in the wake of the Iranian threat and the economic crisis in Europe." He added, "Unfortunately, we haven't identified a change in the trend, only further intensification."