Following an expose by "Yedioth Ahronoth" a few months ago, the Ministry of Tourism conducted an investigation of Israeli hotels and found that some are charging tourists more than they are charging Israelis. That having been said, the ministry also found hotels with similar rates for both, and even some hotels that charge Israelis more than tourists, primarily on weekends.
In a regional examination, it was determined that, in Eilat, Israelis pay less for weeknight hotel stays (on average, 690 NIS/night, or USD 157, for Israeli couples, 773 NIS/night, for tourist couples), but more for weekend hotel stays (on average, 845 NIS/night for Israeli couples, 773 NIS/night, or USD 175, for tourist couples).
In Jerusalem hotels, tourists pay more, both on weekends and weekdays (on average, Israeli couples paid 762 NIS/night, or USD 173, on weekdays and 840 NIS/night, or USD 191, on weekends, tourists paid 791 NIS/night, or USD 180, on weekdays and 869 NIS/night, or USD 198, on weekends). In Tel Aviv, the Israelis actually pay more: 873 NIS/night (USD 199), as opposed to the tourist price of 673 NIS/night (USD 153).
The Dead Sea stands out particularly in its tourist discrimination. Israelis pay over 150 NIS (USD 34) less a night than do tourists on weeknights. On weekends, the discrepancy decreases to a 90 NIS (USD 20)difference on average (800 NIS vs. 889 NIS, or USD 182 vs. USD 202). Similar discrimination, at lower relative prices, also occurred in Tiberias.
All prices were relevant to the June-July 2006 season. The ministry examined three star to five star hotels. On average, five star hotels demanded prices from Israelis that were almost 600 NIS (USD 137) less than those of tourists on weekday nights, about 500 NIS (USD 114) less on weekend nights.
Tovah Pinto, CEO of the Union of Hotels, sent a letter to members of the union, stating that "the phenomenon of charging different rates for tourists and Israelis at the front desk on the same day create a negative image of Israeli hotels and is interpreted as discrimination against tourists." According to Pinto, the union held a meeting on topic and recommended to its members to have equal rates for both Israelis and tourists.
Minister of Tourism, Isaac Herzog, said that the phenomenon of discrimination against tourists in Israeli hotels is "a difficult problem that creates a negative image of Israel and the Israeli tourism industry…I intend to appoint a public committee to investigate the issue of tourism services in Israel in general, including determination of standards and regulations in this area," he added.