Coming up: The Trans-Israel Trail

November 28, 2017 by Lydia Weitzman
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The Israeli government has approved a decision to build a tourist trail along the length and breadth of Israel exposing the landscapes and cultural diversity of the country.

Photo: Dafna Tal for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism

According to the approved decision, Tourism Ministry Director General Amir Halevi will head a team that will include the Ministry for Development of the Negev and the Galilee, the JNF-KKL and the Nature and Parks Authority to formulate a proposal for the plan, which will be allocated a NIS 10 million budget by the Tourism Ministry. It should be noted that this is the first time the government has taken part in such a project.

This, as a result of the recent record-breaking figures for tourist arrivals, and the need to diversify and expand the touring options in Israel. The proposed route will leverage tourism throughout the country – the North, which is characterized by verdant landscapes and water sources and the South, with its desert landscapes, as well as offering tourists the possibility to hike between the holy sites, etc.

The Ministry of Tourism, in coordination and in cooperation with an inter-ministerial team, will submit to the Government within 120 days its recommendations for a strategic plan for the development of the trail. The team’s recommendations will include the proposed route of the tourist trail, including its intersections with the Israel Bicycle Trail, plans to adapt the supporting infrastructure, hospitality options along the trail, and more.

The decision states, among others, that “the economic potential of such tourism to the periphery is significant, with the ability to generate increases in hospitality options, eating places, tourist attractions, etc. Furthermore, in the periphery, the economic reliance on tourism is part of the employment infrastructure and a main source of income. The significance of formulating a comprehensive plan for such a trail is necessary to help advance the periphery, and thus the entire State of Israel will be able to benefit from the growth in incoming tourism.”

The decision also notes that global experience shows that backpacking trails are a tourist attraction in many countries which have been able to leverage their natural resources for the benefit of lengthy trails; they are maintained at a high level and marketed worldwide as a tourist destination in their own right.

The proposal details the economic potential of a Trans-Israel trail – both for domestic and incoming tourism, including the establishment of attractions, places to sleep and transportation, and more. It was noted that the average expenditure of a tourist in Israel is about $1,500. The path is expected to increase and distribute this tourism expenditure in to the periphery as well.

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