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The Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevy said today (18 June) in a discussion on hotel ranking
in the Knesset Finance Committee that “the ministry is determined to implement the hotel rankings scheme in Israel.
The ministry will complete its investigations and discussions related to updating the tender and improving
the threshold conditions by the end of the month, and will publish a new tender. Within a few months, a company
will be chosen to start the hotel ranking at the beginning of 2014.”


The ranking of hotels is included in the tourism services regulations that were approved by the Knesset Finance
Committee and published on 3.1.2013. The regulations will come into effect on 3.9.2013 and rankings issued
to hotels under the old regulations will expire in September 2014.


According to the regulations, the body that will implement the rankings and will be appointed by the minister,
will have experience with ranking hotels according to the defined method, ie  the European Hotelstars system.
The Tourism Ministry published a public tender to select the relevant body and four bids were submitted.
Following discussions and investigations, a sub-committee of the Tenders Committee and thereafter
the Tenders Committee itself ruled that none of the bids met with the threshold requirements and therefore
the tender was canceled.


Further to the arrival in their new positions of the tourism minister, Dr. Uzi Landau and the D-G Amir Halevy,
further internal discussions and investigations took place. Yesterday the minister held a round-table discussion
led by and with the participation of the D-G and senior tourism ministry representatives. Also present were
leading figures in the tourism industry as well as representatives from other consumer bodies,
in order to listen to their opinion related to hotel ranking in general and the Hotelstars system in particular.


The purpose of the discussion, which was professional, open and fruitful, was to hear the various opinions
on the matter. After the meeting, the Tourism Ministry representatives held an internal meeting in which
the Tourism Minister decided to move forward with the tender using the Hotelstars system, which is accepted
throughout Europe and familiar to European tourists who visit Israel.


Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau sees great importance in hotel ranking, as part of the improvement in service
for both foreign and domestic tourists. Yesterday, as he opened the round-table discussion, the minister highlighted
the importance in transparency and competitiveness for the benefit of the consumer, both in terms of physical
conditions and in terms of level of service. The Tourism Ministry is working to ensure that the year 2013
will be even better than 2012 in which 3.5 million visitors arrived in the country.


At the opening of today’s Knesset Finance Committee debate, Tourism Ministry D-G thanked,
on behalf of himself and the minister, the committee Chairman Professor Avishai Braverman
for his significant and influential support in the tourism industry struggle against the cancellation
of the VAT exemption in incoming tourism services.