The section stretches over 300 kilometers (186 miles) in length, divided into eight segments for mountain biking, connecting Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat. The length of the final segment inaugurated this week is 35 kilometers (21 miles) from Khan Be'erot (the Be'erot Overnight Camping Ground) in the heart of the Ramon Crater, to Moa in the Arava.
The Tourism Ministry and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority are partners in the project, within the framework of the national plan to promote cycling which is being executed by the Israel Government Tourism Corporation, as part of a vision to position Israel as a destination for cycling tourism and to preserve the open spaces.
The trail was inaugurated Tuesday by Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi, KKL-JNF Director-General Meir Spiegler, Israel Nature and Parks Authority Director-General Saul Goldstein, Head of the Mitzpe Ramon Regional Council Ronnie Marom and Director-General of the Israel Government Tourism Corporation Shai Wiener, together with others from their offices. Some rode part of the trail, others completed it in its entirety.
"I am pleased to inaugurate together with the Tourism Ministry the new segment of this important project," said Goldstein. "The new trail passes through nature reserves and the primeval landscapes of southern Israel.
"I believe that the trail will on the one hand increase conservation of the open areas and on the other offer a unique tourism product that will be marketed to incoming tourists. We are moving forward intensively with the planning and implementation of the rest of the trail, from the Hermon to Eilat and we invite everyone to come, cycle and enjoy the amazing beauty of the area."
According to Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau, "The bike trail from Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat offers an experiential attraction to tourists who love sports as well as Israelis who love to tour the country.
"Similar to countries whose tourism industry is based on its geographical characteristics - the unique desert landscape that covers large parts of Israel allow for its positioning as a leading destination for cyclists, with a comfortable climate year-round and spectacular desert scenery."
The newly inaugurated segment of the trail will facilitate an uninterrupted eight-day stretch of cycling through the desert, in a comfortable climate year-round. Today there are a wide range of overnight accommodation and hospitality options along the trail that have developed, among others, as a result of the project.
The Tourism Ministry estimates that the southern segment will serve as an engine for economic growth in the region, as new initiatives open up alongside existing tourism enterprises - offering overnight accommodation, hospitality and logistics for cyclists traveling the trail from Israel and from overseas.
The desert cycling experience is suitable for an intermediate level of difficulty, attracting cyclists from Israel and overseas who are seeking new and varied challenges, especially during the winter season.
The Tourism Ministry believes the cycling trails that have been developed in the south in particular and throughout the country offer a tourism product that is of particular interest to sports lovers in Europe. This market bears a resemblance to skiing – with the development of high quality trails, stunning scenery and sites along the trails and comfortable climactic conditions, especially in the desert.