New Hadera Hotel’s Troubles Augur Woes for Tourism Expansion

YERUSHALAYIM -
A private security boat (L) circles near a tanker carrying liquefied natural gas in the Mediterranean, 6 miles from the coastal city of Hadera. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
A private security boat (L) circles near a tanker carrying liquefied natural gas in the Mediterranean, 6 miles from the coastal city of Hadera. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

A hotel that had been set to open before Rosh Hashanah will not be given a permit, a Haifa court ruled Sunday, after a local planning council last week said that more work was needed on the building. As a result, the company that owns the hotel is letting go 150 workers on the eve of the holiday.

The hotel in question is not just any hotel; it’s a Ramada, located in Hadera – not usually known as a tourist destination, but one that the Tourism Ministry is very interested in promoting as such. The hotel is the result of a program instituted several years ago to expand the number of hotels in Israel, and develop new sites.

The objective of the program is to increase the number of hotel rooms, thus reducing costs for tourists, as well as to develop new tourism markets in picturesque areas of the country where foreign, and Israeli, tourists usually do not venture. Hotels are set to be built throughout the north and south, as well as in Yehudah and Shomron.

Several weeks ago, a permit was given by local authorities to open the Hadera hotel and hire workers. The target date for opening was the eve of Rosh Hashanah, with guests booked for the holiday itself. However, another hearing last week determined that some more work was needed on the site, although at least part of the hotel was ready for guests. In a hearing Sunday, however, the court said that a partial opening was not possible.

The bottom line for the workers is that without an opening for the Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos seasons, it’s likely that the vast majority will not be able to begin work until Pesach, if permits for the hotel are granted by then. Last week, the Tourism Ministry expressed its dissatisfaction with the situation. “Not opening the Ramada Hadera hotel will cause great damage to incoming tourism and Israel’s image as a tourism destination,” the Ministry said, “We have put a great deal of effort into development of the building and the site. We are very willing to help find and implement solutions that will be implemented as soon as possible.”