Israel Hotel Association’s Sale: Discounts Raise Questions About Vacation Costs

Yesterday, the Israel Hotel Association initiated a three-day sale, running until September 21, offering a minimum 20 percent discount on more than 200 hotels across the country. This event generated substantial interest, resulting in technical glitches on the dedicated website due to the high volume of visitors seeking reduced-rate vacations.

However, an investigation by “Saving Plan” revealed that the advertised prices often did not reflect significant discounts. In some cases, the prices were even higher than those observed during the same period last year or during the peak prices of last August, which marked the height of the summer season and vacations.

Additionally, in collaboration with “The Flying Carpet,” a test demonstrated that even after the sale, vacations abroad remained significantly more cost-effective than vacations within Israel. For instance, a three-night stay for a couple with two children in a 5-star hotel in Antalya, Turkey, between October 5th and 8th, cost $379 (1,444 shekels) per person, totaling 5,776 shekels for the entire family. This package included round-trip flights, transfers, and an all-inclusive hotel experience with various attractions.

In contrast, a comparable all-inclusive vacation for the same family during the same dates at one of Eilat’s well-known and sizable hotels would cost 8,864 shekels. It is important to note that this price excluded flights, transfers, alcoholic beverages at the hotel, and additional expenses associated with on-site attractions.

Another example illustrates the significant cost disparity: a 5-star hotel in Rhodes, offering half-board accommodations with flights and transfers for a family with two children, totaled $1,596 (6,080 NIS). Conversely, a similar vacation package at a well-known Eilat hotel for the same family during the same period cost 8,375 NIS.

Karin, a traveler from central Israel, had previously booked a couple’s vacation in Cyprus for October. She contemplated canceling it in favor of booking an Israeli vacation during the sale. However, like many others, she realized that even with the discounts, prices in Israel were far from reasonable. “I usually don’t consider vacations in Israel from the start; I see no reason to vacation at unreasonably high prices here. I’m heading to Cyprus soon for a five-day trip, and the flight, all-inclusive hotel, and suite accommodation cost me around 2,200 shekels per person. That’s the price of one night in an Israeli hotel without any inclusions. Even with the discount, I’d still end up paying several thousand shekels more in Israel, and it just doesn’t make sense in any way,” Karin remarked.

In response to the investigation by the savings plan, the Hotel Association stated, “For the first time ever, the association has launched a large-scale sale offering a minimum 20% discount on over 200 hotels in Israel for each day of the upcoming year, including holidays and weekends. The association and the hotels initiated this sale to allow the Israeli public to experience the diversity and hospitality of hotels in Israel. While there may be occasional instances where room prices are higher during specific periods compared to the previous year, these are exceptions that do not reflect the overall trend.”

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