Life & Culture

Join the Passover party

Steve K. Walz speaks to hoteliers as they prepare to welcome the annual rush of British guests


Pesach, for British tourists to Israel, is traditionally spent in hotels along the Mediterranean coast and in Eilat.

Rafi Baeri, vice-president of sales and marketing for the Dan Hotels chain, says that Israeli hotels were nearly filled to capacity during the holiday last year. And the Ministry of Tourism reports that, on average, foreign tourists will spend about £1,000 per person on hotel rooms, food, attractions and shopping during their stay.

Passover bookings from overseas guests remain strong this year. This period, together with Succot, are the lifeblood of many hotels, where the eight-day holidays account for 50 per cent of their annual income, according to Israel Hotel Association sources.

"Pesach bookings look good and we remain optimistic," says Alex Herman, the vice-president of sales and marketing at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel. "People might wait a little bit longer to book their reservations because Pesach is almost a month later than last year.

"We do offer an early bird reservation discount with our Pesach packages but that's not a new incentive. It's something we do via our website every year. We have not changed anything because our hotel has a great reputation for offering great programmes, food and an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of spring in Jerusalem."

Pesach and Succot account for 50 per cent of hotel income

However, the Mediterranean coastal resorts have their advantages over Jerusalem for British visitors.

Dubi Rakia is general manager of the Dan Accadia, by the beach in Herzliya Pituach. This is one of the most sought-after venues for travellers seeking tranquillity and warm weather. Rakia says that the hotel is "nearly sold-out" for Pesach.

"Most of our guests made their reservations for this year at the end of their stay last Pesach, which has actually become a tradition at our hotel. As we have a large swimming pool and direct access to the beach, this is something that our British guests actively seek out, especially this coming Pesach when the holiday will start towards the end of April and the weather will be warmer."

The Dan Panorama, Sheraton and Isrotel Royal Beach hotels, on the Tel Aviv beachfront promenade, also attract a sizeable number of Pesach guests from the UK. Tel Aviv is already gearing up for the influx of Pesach tourists by listing a wide range of cultural attractions on its website, including "Passover Rave" parties at popular dance clubs, the International Auto Motor Show at the Tel Aviv Convention Centre and free entry to a select number of well-known museums across the city.

Eilat is promoting itself across the world as an alternative destination for tourists concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Egypt.

It is set to benefit from Monarch Airlines' introduction of direct flights from the UK to the "Red Sea Riviera".

"This will not only boost tourism from the UK to Eilat hotel during Pesach," says Baeri "but we anticipate that Monarch's low-cost weekly flights to Uvda Airport (located 37 miles north of Eilat) from Luton Airport will allow hotel bookings to grow throughout 2016, which is good for everyone in the hotel industry."

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