Israel govt approves $88mn plan to help hotel industry

The Israeli government has approved an aid plan for hotels across the country, at a cost of 300 million shekels ($88 million), the Ministry of Tourism said.

The hotel industry suffered a severe blow following the decision to shut down the country’s borders in late February and a ban on foreign nationals entering Israel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

This industry includes 430 hotels with more than 55,000 rooms, employing about 41,000 workers.

The Ministry said on Monday many of the hotels are struggling to recover, and more than 40 per cent of them were still closed.

The new plan, set by the finance and tourism ministries, will offer grants, aiming to preserve the tourism industry in Israel and ensure that it survives the coronavirus crisis.

Eligibility for the grants, as well as amounts, will be determined according to each hotel’s revenues decrease, compared with corresponding periods in previous years.

Finance Minister Israel Katz said the plan would provide long-term certainty and support to hotels affected by the crisis.

Minister of Tourism Asaf Zamir added that “this is another important step in preserving the tourism infrastructure in Israel”.

“We will continue to help all factors in the tourism industry return to be a significant engine of economic growth.”