Yesterday was a momentous day for cooperation in the hotel world, says Girlahead, remembering cycling from The Norman (above) on her last visit to Tel Aviv. Yesterday, a webinar on hotel investment opportunities saw panel members, and 146 delegates, from Israel and UAE, and the rest of the world. It was opened by the Minister of Tourism for Israel, Orit Farkash Hacoben – after sharing that over 130,000 visitors from UAE have been to Israel since the friendship agreement was signed November 2020. she said pointedly how her Ministry supports new business in the hospitality sector. To show the high level of players involved in this online event, STR’s Robin Rossmann shared comparable data illustrating how both nations are consistently outperforming other areas of the world, especially Europe.
Panel discussions were led first by Ronit Copeland and then by HVS’ Russell Kett. Talking with Kett, Henry Taic, whose 2,000+ rooms include Tel Aviv’s David InterContinental and its soon-to-open near neighbour Kempinski, pointed out land prices in Israel, especially Tel Aviv, are high and he recommended outsiders wanting to enter should find local partners and, for anything like acceptable speed, consider conversions. Also based in Tel Aviv, David Fattal, who has dozens of hotels in almost as many nations, admitted he had been anxious to get presence in UAE for over 20 years. It might still take time actually to sign something but the potential is huge.
Dubai-based Mark Maurice, of Ameera Group, said he is seriously looking for Tel Aviv. To the Israel hoteliers in on the call, he stressed that to persuade ultra-HNWIs from UAE to divert away from top London hotels and The Maldives, Israel might want to remember that, once a novelty has worn off, it is service that attracts Emiratis.