The government on Sunday, 8 Kislev, approved the proposal of Tourism Minister Yariv Levin for the construction of the Trans-Israel Trail – a tourist trail throughout the length and breadth of Israel. The Tourism Ministry will head the development team and will allocate a budget of NIS 10 million for the project.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the initiative: “The Israel Trial has tourist and historical implications. This is what is needed in terms of the tourism potential. On a personal note: I have walked thousands of kilometers. There is nothing that connects one more to love of the homeland than walking through the verses of the Bible, the history of Bayis Sheni period and the establishment of the State of Israel. We have beautiful countryside and a rich history. I will try to walk through parts of it. This is an outstanding enterprise.”
Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin: “The decision to construct a tourist trail throughout the length and breadth of Israel is an important decision against the background of the all-time record breaking figures in incoming tourism and the efforts to add tourist attractions that will benefit visitors and tourists in Israel. The path will expose tourists to Israel’s landscapes and sites and will bring hikers to all parts of the country, including the periphery, thereby making significant economic contributions to these areas.”
The government on Sunday accepted a decision to build a tourist trail along the length and breadth of Israel, that will expose the landscapes and cultural diversity of the country.
According to the approved decision, Tourism Ministry Director General Amir Halevi will head a team that will include the Ministry for Development of the Negev and the Galil, the JNF-KKL and the Nature and Parks Authority to formulate a proposal for the plan, which will be allocated a 10 million NIS budget by the Tourism Ministry. It should be noted that this is the first time the government has taken part in such a project.
This, as a result of the recent record-breaking figures for tourist arrivals, and the need to diversify and expand the touring options in Israel. The proposed route will leverage tourism throughout the country – the North, which is characterized by verdant landscapes and water sources and the South, with its desert landscapes, as well as offering tourists the possibility to hike between the holy sites, etc.
The Ministry of Tourism, in coordination and in cooperation with an inter-ministerial team, will submit to the Government within 120 days its recommendations for a strategic plan for the development of the trail. The team’s recommendations will include the proposed route of the tourist trail, including its intersections with the Israel Bicycle Trail, plans to adapt the supporting infrastructure, hospitality options along the trail, and more.
The decision states, among others, that “the economic potential of such tourism to the periphery is significant, with the ability to generate increases in hospitality options, eating places, tourist attractions, etc. Furthermore, in the periphery, the economic reliance on tourism is part of the employment infrastructure and a main source of income. The significance of formulating a comprehensive plan for such a trail is necessary to help advance the periphery, and thus the entire State of Israel will be able to benefit from the growth in incoming tourism.”
The decision also notes that global experience shows that backpacking trails are a tourist attraction in many countries which have been able to leverage their natural resources for the benefit of lengthy trails; they are maintained at a high level and marketed worldwide as a tourist destination in their own right.
The proposal details the economic potential of a Trans-Israel trail – both for domestic and incoming tourism, including the establishment of attractions, places to sleep and transportation, and more.
It was noted that the average expenditure of a tourist in Israel is about $1,500. The path is expected to increase and distribute this tourism expenditure in to the periphery as well.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
There already is a (roughly) 1000 km hiking trail in Israel which runs the length of the country called ‘The Israel Trail’ (שביל ישראל). People have been hiking/backpacking it for decades. Not to mention the many, many hundreds of kilometers of additional hiking trails already spread throughout the country. Another trail is certainly welcome but the article gives the impression that it is a first for Israel which is not even remotely true.