The Israeli government has approved a plan for the construction of new hotels with a total of 3,200 rooms in the northern part of the Dead Sea. The area, which is under the jurisdiction of the Megilot Regional Council, was granted the status of a development zone, which entails special building rights, insuring that investors will receive grants for up to 24 percent of total project costs.
Two applications for building permits have already been submitted and will add 500 hotel rooms to the area. The government is attracting new residents to the region with generous grants and loans of about $25,000.
Most tourists who visit the northern part of the Dead Sea tend to spend the night in other locations including the hotels in the southern region at Ein Bokek. The construction of the new hotels will provide people with an alternative, a longer stay in the area and less travel.
In addition, a four-lane, well lit highway that is being built, will shorten the journey from Jerusalem to less than 20 minutes.
Some of the most important and interesting sites of the Dead Sea are on its northern parts: the Qumran caves, Metzoke Dragot and Ein Feshcha; but there is a shortage of places to stay overnight with a current total of 240 rooms.
In the first quarter of 2007, there was a 20 percent increase of visitors to the area compared to the same period last year. The head of the regional council, Mordechai Dahman, says the lack of accomdations in the area is a real cause for concern, and this is one of the reasons the construction of 3,200 new hotel rooms was approved by the government.
Reproduced with permission: Ynet