Regenerated Haifa becomes the city to watch in 2011


The global affairs magazine Monocle has singled out Haifa as top of its "places to watch for business opportunities in 2011".

It explains that Haifa - which flourished under British rule, before Israeli independence - has been in "steady decline for the past few decades," yet its "massive head-to-toe regeneration effort" is "starting to have an impact."

Mayor Yona Yahav views the award as recognition of his success in turning the city round during his seven years in office.

"The change in the business sector began seven years ago when we made the city friendly to investments," he said, referring to campaigns and tax incentives to attract businesses.

He said that the municipality is currently investing 500 million shekels (£87 million) of its own money each year in developing business areas.

Monocle also praised the Carmel Tunnels, a 5.5-mile network which looks set to make Haifa the least congested city in Israel. The tunnels, which were due to open on Wednesday, take drivers from the north to the south of the city in eight minutes instead of the 45-minute overground route.

Mr Yahav said he wants to continue moving infrastructure underground - by burying the train lines which run by the sea to make the coast more attractive and ripe for investment.

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