Is Israel on its way to becoming a golf empire? According to the Tourism Ministry and the Israel Land Administration the answer is yes.
The two have recently devised a plan to build 16 new golf courses across Israel. Construction will span 15 years and the project is estimated at NIS 760 million – roughly $200 million.
Investing the golf courses may result in a 20% increase in hotel occupancy and the average amount of money spent by tourists visiting Israel may double form $1,000 to $2,000.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said that encouraging golf tourism would, in turn, encourage local and foreign investments. Misezhnikov predicts thousands of golf aficionados will visit Israel every year, which will help it compete against other Mediterranean Basin nations which have established themselves as local golf attractions.
Annual golf tourism revenues in Europe, the Middle East and Africa come to $2.7 billion.
Tourism Ministry and Israel Land Administration officials will be scouting for potential sites over the next few months. Initial plans include constructing golf courses in Eilat and the Dead Sea in the south, Tiberias and Hatzor HaGlilit in the north and Savyon and Rishon Lezion in central Israel.