The Feb. 14 article, “Israel’s Luxe Boom,” about the luxury hotel room boom in Israel, noted that about half of government subsidies for hotel construction has gone to builders of high-end hotels. I believe this is a poor allocation of government funds.
Even though this is an off-peak period, non-stop flights to Israel exceed $1,100. In addition, Israeli hotel rooms are usually small, requiring two rooms for a family of four. With “moderately” priced hotels rooms often exceeding $200 a night, the cost of a 10-day vacation exceeds $8,500 for a family of four, even without ground transportation and food costs. According to hotels.com, Israel has the sixth highest average hotel room price in the world.
Each year millions of dollars are spent on Birthright to give American young adults their first Israel experience. If travel to Israel were more affordable, you have to believe many more entire families would be able to share the Israel experience.
Israeli government funding would be better served encouraging the construction of budget and moderately priced hotels and motels with family-sized rooms. These rooms may not attract the big spenders, but will serve to deepen the ties between Israel and the diaspora.