Israel’s Ministry of Tourism approved grants totalling 180 million new shekels (53 million U.S. dollars) for building hotels in 2017, sources from the ministry said Thursday.
With a boom in tourist arrivals to Israel, the number of hotel rooms in the Jewish state is expected to increase by approximately 2,570 in the coming years, according to the ministry.
“We are working to expand the hotel room supply by offering financial assistance to entrepreneurs and approving grants for hotel construction,” said Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin.
“This is a response to the growth in incoming tourism and, at the same time, will ultimately lead to lower prices,” he added.
The grants in 2017 were allocated for the establishment, expansion and conversion of 35 hotels throughout the country within the framework of the Law for the Encouragement of Capital.
The largest grant, which amounts to 35 million new shekels, is to be used for the preservation and construction of a 248-room budget hotel in Jerusalem.
The total approved grants for the holy city involve five hotel projects with 482 rooms.
Levin said he was convinced that with the momentum in hotel construction and the fast rise in tourist arrivals, Israel will continue to see prosperity in the tourism industry.
More than 3.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2017, a new record high and an increase of 25 percent on 2016, generating more than 20 billion new shekels in revenue and creating about 25,000 new jobs, according to the figures issued by Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel in early January.
Chinese tourists to Israel reached 123,000 in 2017, also to a new record high and up 45 percent from 2016.