August 5, 2018

A new expansive tourism center is on the drawing board for Ein Bokek, the hotel and resort district on the Dead Sea, the Ministry of Tourism and the Israel Lands Authority announced last week.

Designed by the renowned Israeli-American architect Moshe Safdie, the Dead Sea Valley Tourism Complex is to include a convention center, visitor center, two low-rise luxury hotels and more to come later, entertainment and culinary venues, world-class spa, shopping mall and other attractions.

The goal is to appeal to “international elite tourism,” according to a promotional brochure.

The existing hotels in Ein Bokek on the sea’s southern basin offer a combined 4,000 rooms. There hasn’t been additional hotel construction in about two decades. The number of rooms will nearly double in coming years between new construction and expansion of existing hotels. The first two hotels will add about 400 guest rooms to the mix.

The lowest place on earth, at 420 meters (1,377 feet) below sea level, the Dead Sea enjoys a unique micro-climate beneficial for people with skin, joint and respiratory conditions.

According to a July 2018 report from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the occupancy rate for Dead Sea hotels was nearly 70 percent in the first half of the year.

In 2017, the Tourism Ministry inaugurated 16 accessible free beaches in the Dead Sea hotel area and built a 4-kilometer pedestrian promenade.

“We are continuing the tourism revolution in the Dead Sea and leveraging it as an attractive and modern tourist destination,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. The ministry’s affiliated Dead Sea Preservation Government Company is subsidizing a significant amount of these expenses, says Israel Land Authority South Business Area Director Eran Reuveni.

Aside from the tourism complex, investment money is going toward new tourist attractions to Ein Bokek such as bike paths and nighttime tours.

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