Israel on Wednesday outlined plans to bring down the cost of vacationing in the country by increasing the number of hotel rooms by about 50 percent.

Under the plan unveiled jointly by the finance and tourism ministries, the government aims to construct 27,000 hotel rooms in the next 10 years, nine times the number built in the past decade. The shortage of hotel rooms is the leading reason for the 70 percent increase in the cost of overnight accommodation in Israel since 2005, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said at a Jerusalem briefing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is seeking to bring down prices after Israel’s high cost of living became a key issue in this year’s election. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who campaigned on pledges to lower housing, banking, and other consumer costs, said Wednesday he would back any plan that helps reduce prices, raise efficiency, and spur growth. More rooms, and a greater number of international hotel chains, would increase the number of overseas visitors.

“Hotels won’t be just for rich people,” said Kahlon. “People must be able to go on vacation; it’s not a luxury.”

Cumbersome planning procedures represent the main obstacle to building new hotels in Israel, according to the ministries. Difficulty obtaining financing from banks due to the relatively high risk level in the industry is another barrier.

Under the plan, which will be brought to the cabinet for approval on Sunday, hotels will be defined as national infrastructure and approval for their construction may be fast- tracked by the National Infrastructure Committee.

 

This article was written by Alisa Odenheimer from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: Man on a hotel balcony in Jerusalem, Israel. Flickr