As a result of the Israeli Government decision to accept the recommendations of the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Environmental Protection to rehabilitate the Dead Sea region at a total investment of NIS 850 million over the next five years, senior representatives from the hotel and tourism industries met with architects and engineers in order to discuss the development of the Dead Sea region (between Hamei Zohar and Ein Bokek.)
The Dead Sea Preservation Government Company (DSPGC), together with a national interdisciplinary team, is in charge of creating a comprehensive plan to be submitted to the Minister of Tourism. DSPGC CEO, Shimon Daniel, emphasized that the plan will also upgrade the existing hotels, and not only the reconstruction of new ones. The plan is also based on creating attractions outside of hotels such as restaurants, shopping centers and more. Other aspects of the plan include creating new tourism infrastructures, ensuring that the architecture integrates into the desert landscape and the construction of a boardwalk along the Dead Sea shores.
The Dead Sea was the most crowded leisure destination in Israel in 2011, with 857,000 visitors during the year. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2011, the hotel occupancy in the Dead Sea was 77% as opposed to 75.3% in Tel Aviv, and 67% in Eilat, with a consistent growth rate of 43% in the last five years. Hotel revenue in the area reached NIS 1.096 billion in 2011.
As part of the Law to Encourage Capital Investment, the Ministry of Tourism has allocated NIS 9 million in grants for entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding hotels in the Dead Sea region as specified in the conditions for the grant. Grant requests can still be submitted until August 15, 2012.
"This is an opportunity to design the region for generations," Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov, is quoted in an official press release, "We have made a significant step in the rehabilitation of the Dead Sea region and the tourism facilities in the area. According to the schedule – within nine months a new plan will be presented with the suggested design for hotels and tourism in the area."