Holidays in Israel must be more affordable – editorial

Summer, and life is easy

The fish jump and the cotton is high

Your daddy is rich and your mommy is beautiful

So hush, little baby, don’t cry

So goes the beloved tune “Summertime” in George Gershwin’s 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. By updating the song and adapting it to reflect the reality of Israeli consumers in the summer of 2021, the lyrics could look like this:

Summer, and life is a fortune

The fish jump and the cotton is high

If your dad is rich, you can afford a vacation in Israel

If not go ahead baby why don’t you cry

Nine months after hoteliers nationwide and tzimmer (guesthouse) owners were crying every night in evening news programs about how badly they were affected by the coronavirus – showing the great sympathy of the Israeli means that these entrepreneurs really felt are now making these same Israelis cry by jacking their prices up to the sky.

According to a report in Yediot Ahronot, the price of hotels in this country’s most popular vacation spots this summer – Eilat and the Dead Sea – is between 20% and 30% higher than in July 2019, last summer before the coronavirus hit .

The average price for a family of four for three nights half-board at a four- and five-star hotel in Eilat during July and August is 8,000 shekels ($ 2,450). A similar vacation to Tel Aviv will cost 7,555 NIS ($ 2,319). And that’s without even leaving the hotel.

This kind of increase is simply not true. It is not true that a three-night stay in a hotel in Cyprus for a couple and a toddler – including the plane ticket – is half the price of what it is in Eilat. It’s just crazy that a family of four could spend two weeks in a hotel in Georgia for a third of what it would cost that same family to spend a week in a hotel in Eilat.

And what makes it all the more maddening is that the government, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, is asking long-suffering consumers to show national responsibility and avoid non-essential travel. foreign.

So, on the one hand, the Israelis are told to spend their summer vacation in Israel, but on the other hand, if they want to go somewhere, they will have to pay an arm and a leg. Talk about a captive consumer.

Naturally, hotel and tzimmer owners want to make money. They are not in the hotel business just to be hospitable. But there is a big difference between making a healthy profit and being a pig.

The owners of the hotel and the tzimmer wanted and received public support during the dark days of the coronavirus to get healthy aid packages from the government to hold them back. They should remember this solidarity and only pay it back a fraction by not jacking up prices through the roof just because they can.

And it’s not just a call to altruism.

In the summer of 2011, the country’s major food producers realized the limits of their ability to continually raise the price of basic commodities – like cottage cheese – without facing a consumer rebellion. The high cost of food sparked a summer of social protests that both created consumer pressure on agribusiness companies not to raise their prices, and led to more competition in the food market which has helped drive down prices in the long run.

The very high prices of hotels and tzimmer this summer could have a similar impact and trigger a mini consumer revolt. With the current rise in Covid-19 cases putting question marks on Israel’s degree of openness to foreign tourism, the hospitality industry will depend on domestic tourism for the foreseeable future. They would therefore be wise to cultivate the goodwill of the internal market now by not taking advantage of the current situation to ask for exorbitant prices.

Today, Israeli tourists need hotels; tomorrow it will be the other way around. The hospitality industry should remember this and exercise some reasonableness and proportion when setting prices.

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