More foreign visitors than Israelis stayed in hotels in the country during March, statistics from the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed – the first time that that has ever happened. In general, more Israelis are choosing to vacation abroad than at home, because of the lower costs of flying and the cheaper hotels abroad, according to the CBS.
During the first quarter of 2017, a total of 4.76 million guest nights were recorded in Israeli hotels, 11 percent more than the same period in 2016, 15 percent more than the first quarter of 2015, and 4 percent more than the first three months of 2014 – a year that, until Operation Protective Edge in July, was a record-setting year.
Meanwhile, during the first quarter of 2017, Israelis were responsible for 52.5 percent of the hotel stays – 1 percent less than in Q1 2016. In March, 1.8 million overnight hotel stays were recorded, 51 percent of them non-Israelis. The number of foreign tourists staying in hotels in March jumped 30 percent over that figure for last March, while there were 3 percent fewer Israelis staying at Israeli hotels in March 2017 over March 2016.
Among Israelis, there were fewer tourists in all areas, the poll cited in Yediot Acharonot said. Seven percent fewer Israelis stayed in Eilat this March than last March, 10 percent fewer stayed at hotels at the Dead Sea, and hotel stays for Israelis were 16 percent lower compared to the two periods. However, there was an 18 percent increase in the number of Israelis who vacationed abroad over a year earlier. Among foreign tourists, hotel stays were up all over the country – with Haifa and Nazareth leading the way, with increases of 68 percent and 54 percent in the number of overnight stays in March 2017 over March 2016. It should be noted that Pesach, which usually brings in many tourists from abroad, was in April this year.