According to estimates, the Israeli tourism industry may be "enjoying" the results of the recent upheaval in Egypt and tensions in Jordan, which may have caused many tourists to change their plans and book rooms in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, instead of in Cairo or Amman.
Some 1.4 million tourist stays and 1.3 million stays by Israelis were recorded by local hotels in January and February. Compared to the same period in 2010, the number of tourist stays jumped by 16%, while the number of Israeli stays dropped by 3%.
Hotel owners saw a certain rise in the room occupancy, which reached 56%, compared to 52% in the first two months of 2010.
According to the Israel Hotel Association (IHA), the occupancy improved on the backdrop of the damage caused to the tourism industry in neighboring countries. "We are satisfied with the ongoing rise in tourist stays, despite the drop in the number of entries to Israel," said IHA President Ami Federman.
He added that the rise in tourist stays and occupancy rates during the low season points to a high potential which is not fulfilled in the winter season. Federman warned, however, that "the tense situation in the Middle East threatens this trend, which may not continue in the coming months."
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