Israel’s hospitality industry suffering worst-ever crisis, says Israel Hotel Association

March 10, 2020 by JNS
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Amid the worldwide tourism slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, Israel Hotel Association (IHA) president Amir Hayek warned on Monday that the hotel industry is “on the brink of collapse.”

Hotels by the Dead Sea in southern Israel. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.

“Mass layoffs and hotels closing down” lie ahead, stated Hayek, adding that 4,000 of the 41,000 workers in the hotel industry have already been sent on unpaid leave, according to the Globes business daily.

This was the worst crisis in the history of the Israeli hospitality industry, he added.

“If immediate government aid is not forthcoming, mass layoffs will begin, and the sector will lose over half of its employees,” said Hayek.

According to IHA statistics, hotel occupancy has dropped to less than 40 per cent, which is 30 per cent less than at the same time last year. In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, occupancy rates are even lower at 30 per cent, according to the report.

“The expected closure of Israel’s borders to tourist entries from the entire world will immediately cost the sector NIS 500 million [$142 million] a month in revenue, NIS 6 billion [$1.7 billion] a year, and hotel occupancy will drop to 20 per cent in areas oriented towards incoming tourism, such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There will be massive layoffs, and dozens of hotels will close down,” said Hayek.

Some hotels are approaching closings already, he said.


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