The Tourism Ministry has just approved construction of a new hotel for the coastal city of Ashkelon. The budget allocation came immediately following Operation Pillar of Defense, the counter terror offensive to stop rocket fire against Israel by terror organizations in Gaza.
The hotel is to be built on the site of an abandoned building on the Mediterranean seashore that served the same purpose decades ago.
The entrepreneur will invest NIS 15 million in building a 50-room hotel, according to the ministry. The expansion of the hotel by 100 rooms in an adjacent hotel is already being planned.
The approval came as part of the project to invest in the re-establishment of tourism to the south following the operation.
Tourism is also being supported in the center and north of the country as well.
In Haifa, a casino building that operated in the 1930s as an entertainment and leisure center for residents of the Bat Galim neighborhood is to be converted to an “A” standard hotel with 54 rooms at a cost of NIS 21 million.
A collection of grant requests totaling NIS 34.5 million was also submitted to the Investments Administration of the Tourism Ministry for the restoration and conversion of 13 hotels.
The new facilities are to be located in Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Acco, Haifa, Nahariya, Kfar Horesh, Tiberias and Kibbutz Ein Gev.
In Jerusalem, a kindergarten in the YMCA on King David Street will be converted to 21 rooms and be annexed to the Three Arches Hotel that functions within the building.
In addition, the ministry will add 47 guest rooms to the Strand Hotel, following the conversion of office space at an investment of some NIS 12 million.
Altogether, the project is expected to add another 470 new hotel rooms at an overall investment of some NIS 153 million.
This year, the Investments Administration approved grants totaling some NIS 200 million.
"The Tourism Ministry attaches great importance to the development and rehabilitation of tourism in the areas in the south affected by the recent hostilities,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.
“Converting buildings into hotels is the implementation of the ministry's policy of expanding the hotel supply in order to create competition that will lead to lower vacation costs in Israel. This comes in accordance with the recommendations of the committee recently approved by the government,” he added.