Illustrative

With Israelis 'trapped' in country, local hotels raise rates

Reluctant to endure the lengthy quarantine involved choosing cheaper options abroad, Israelis with unvaccinated children find themselves looking for domestic vacation spots, giving hotels and bed and breakfasts carte blanche to increase their prices by as much as 20%

Tara Kavaler/The Media Line |
Published: 06.19.21, 09:18
With most children not vaccinated against coronavirus and stringent quarantine regulations for foreign travel, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Israelis seeking vacations inside the country - leading many hotels to hike their prices in response.
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  • The cost of vacations within Israel is rising and the price of hotels is only expected to climb higher as the country begins opening to individual foreign tourists on July 1.
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    Beach sea holiday girl woman sun summer vacation sand
    Beach sea holiday girl woman sun summer vacation sand
    Illustrative
    (Photo: The Media Line)
    Mark Feldman, CEO of Ziontours, says the prices of hotels in Israel have risen from their pre-COVID levels by at least 20%. He attributes this to the two-week quarantine (the duration can be shortened to 10 days if two test results are negative) families with young children face upon return from abroad, as kids under the age of 12 are too young to be vaccinated.
    “Israeli families know that to go to Greece or Cyprus, they will spend much, much, much less money but all of their unvaccinated kids will have to come back and go into quarantine,” Feldman says.
    “Parents would rather spend more money at an Israeli hotel in Eilat or at the Dead Sea or in the north, rather than bring the kids back and be stuck at home for 10 to 14 days.”
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    A tourist floating in the water at the Dead Sea
    A tourist floating in the water at the Dead Sea
    A tourist floating in the water at the Dead Sea
    (Image: Shutterstock)
    Feldman is referring to families like that of Shir, who has three children under the age of seven. The Tel Aviv-based family of five is paying approximately $475 a night to stay in a hotel at the Dead Sea.
    “The prices are outrageous, but this is the price we have to pay in order to go on vacation,” says Shir, who declined to provide her surname.
    “I know that if we went to Greece or Eastern Europe, it would be a lot less expensive. But no amount of money we save is worth having my kids unable to leave the house.”
    Feldman says that even the price of a bed and breakfast, a less expensive alternative to hotels, has risen since pre-COVID times. Besides, the most popular ones are already completely booked for the summer.
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    Summer on the beach in central Israel
    Summer on the beach in central Israel
    Summer on the beach in central Israel
    (Photo: Avi Moalem)
    Feldman attributes the high cost of hotel rooms to a combination of more Israelis wanting to vacation in the country and limited inventory.
    “It’s really is a basic thing of supply and demand. If the hotels can get the price, they’ll charge the price. If they couldn’t get the price, they wouldn’t be charging the price,” Feldman says.
    “There are enough Israelis willing to pay the money to keep the hotels with a very high occupancy,” he says.
    “Some of the places in Eilat have already sold out this summer … with temperatures as high as 105 to 110 degrees [41 to 43 degrees Celsius].”
    Even middle-class families are willing to pay exorbitant prices for hotels, Feldman says.
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