October 13, 2015

Israel’s “Memorable” Holiday Season Extremely Profitable

Jerusalem - The uptick in Arab violence notwithstanding, tourists from the US, Canada, the UK and France filled hotels here for the Sukkot holiday. While several of Jerusalem’s leading hotels competed for the lucrative Orthodox market, many foreign families rented homes rather than stay in some of the hotels. It seemed as if certain hotels were designated as the place to be for various groups. For example, many UK tourists stayed at the Inbal Hotel while many of the affluent American Orthodox Jews stayed in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria with its magnificent open air lobby Sukkah. Many of these holiday vacationers previously stayed at the David Citadel Hotel and the Leonardo Plaza Jerusalem, which some observers noted were less than completely filled this year (not confirmed by Kosher Today). Travel agents say that Americans in particular were spending as much as 30% more this year than they did in 2010. For some tourists, the reports of stabbings and other violence was unnerving curtailing some of their touring, but observers note that in the past Palestinians timed their violence to coincide with the heavy holiday tourist season.

Retail sales were reported at record levels at Israel’s supermarket. According to one source average sales increased by 8% - 10% over last year. Many consumers lamented about the rising prices and shortages of such items as chickens and eggs. It was also the holiday immediately following the Shmittah year (when a large number of farms observed the Sabbatical year for the fields) which further resulted in some shortages of fruits and produce as well as higher prices for many of the foods.