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Israel had its best tourism year to date, with more than 4.12 million tourist entries recorded from January to December 2018, an increase of about 14 percent compared to 2017, and 42 percent more than in 2016. 2019 is anticipated to show even faster growth thanks to new flight options, hotel renovations and openings, and more.

Hospitality Updates

  • Nobu Hospitality will be opening a new property and restaurant in Tel Aviv. The new Nobu Hotel Tel Aviv will have its Nobu restaurant at its core and will be located on the popular Rothschild Boulevard central to one of Tel Aviv’s original neighborhoods. The hotel will offer 38 thoughtfully designed rooms, and large garden, fitness center, pool, outdoor spaces and a private rooftop ideal for events.
  • Mizpe Hayamim, the Galilee hotel located just minutes from Safed and Rosh Pina, is slated to reopen in May 2019, just in time to welcome guest back for the sunny summer months. The hotel has been closed since April 2018 for renovations, including the addition of 17 guestrooms. The hotel has a large organic farm—among the most diverse in the world—including livestock and a dairy, which provides most of the fresh ingredients for the hotel’s kitchen and restaurants. It also features an expansive spa offering dozens of body and beauty treatments, a vegetarian restaurant serving breakfasts and dinners with gorgeous panoramic views, and, of course, the acclaimed Muscat restaurant.
  • The long awaited Six Senses Shaharut is slated to open in 2019 in the Arava Valley of the Negev Desert. The luxurious and sustainable property will be one of the biggest openings of the year thanks to its 58 ultra-luxe suites and villas. The hotel will feature an onsite desert activity center and Earth Lab, camel stables, Senses Spa, authentic Bedouin dining experiences, plus access to nearby activities such as camel rides, off-road driving, mountain climbing, mountain biking, rappelling, an outdoor cinema under the stars and more.
  • On the shore of the Dead Sea, the Israel Ministry of Tourism is setting up the exclusive Dead Sea Valley Tourism Complex, a project that includes the construction of a tourist complex with world-class luxury hotels and up to 5,000 rooms. In addition, the project will include state-of-the-art spa and health facilities, leisure facilities, a visitor and information center, a multi-purpose conference center, a commercial and entertainment center, as well as a modish promenade, connecting the hotels and the various attractions/facilities. The development is slated for completion towards the end of 2019.

Transportation News

  • Opened in September 2018, the much-anticipated Jerusalem High Speed Train has begun operating and currently reaches Ben Gurion Airport. In early 2019, the express train will connect Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As the first electric railway line in Israel, the new train will take just 28 minutes, down from the current bus transportation of about 80 minutes.
  • Ben Gurion Airport is set to undergo a major overhaul in 2019 that will see it become a more user-friendly airport and will cut down on long waiting lines during check-in. The changes will include six new baggage and security check booths in Terminal Three, a doubling of the capacity and use of Terminal One for short distance flights, common check-in stations that will allow passengers to check in to different airlines at the same station and added self-check-in booths. Additionally, the V.I.P. Lounges are also expected to be redone to raise the comfort level of the passengers. Ben Gurion Airport is expecting to see 25 million travelers pass through its halls in 2019, thus qualifying it in the “Large Airport” category.
  • Known as a popular resort town for European travelers, Eilat is becoming a more accessible destination thanks to the new Ramon Airport, slated to open in 2019. This airport will replace the two existing nearby hubs, Eilat City Airport and Ovda Airport, creating a new international gateway to Southern Israel and the Red Sea.
  • On May 22, 2019, United Airlines will operate its first nonstop flight between Washington Dulles International Airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. United’s new route to Tel Aviv will be the carrier’s fourth flight to Israel and strengthens the 20 years of relationship between the airline and the destination. In addition, Delta will be launching a second daily flight between New York and Tel Aviv for the summer of 2019. The new daily flight will operate in the afternoon departing at 3:35 pm, complementing the late-night flight already in operation from JFK. El Al has plans for a new weekly nonstop flight from Las Vegas to Tel Aviv starting June 14, 2019. This will be the first direct flight from Las Vegas to Israel. El Al will also launch its direct flights from Tel Aviv to San Francisco starting May 13, 2019.
  • Dizengoff Square, in the heart of the White City district, has undergone a major construction project, lowering it to street level and making the whole area more pedestrian friendly. The renovation will be finished in 2019.

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