Foreign tourists spent 658,000 hotel nights in Israel last month, down 3% from September 2017. A rise in domestic tourism, however, more than made up for the decline: The total number of overnight stays was still up 4% from September of last year.
Last month, Israelis accounted for 1.3 million hotel nights, up 8% from September 2017 and 4% from September 2016. The association attributed the increase in stays by Israelis to the timing of this fall’s Jewish holidays, which this year fell almost entirely in September. Last year they were split between September and October.
The Israel Hotel Association pointed an accusing finger at competition from companies such as Airbnb, which act as intermediaries in permitting tourists to rent out apartments on a short-term basis instead of opting for hotels.
“The figures indicate an increase in the worrying trend of foreign tourist stays at alternative lodgings such as Airbnb, a dangerous and uncontrolled trend that is developing under the noses of the authorities, who aren’t doing anything,” the association said in reference to the lack of regulation of what the association called an “illegal phenomenon.” A year ago, Haaretz reported that there were 8,000 apartments in Tel Aviv alone that were on the market as short-term rentals.