More hotel rooms on the way in Israel

Due to a growing shortage of hotel rooms in Israel, the Israel Ministry of Tourism has approved approximately $57 million in grants for six projects to build 375 new hotel rooms in Jerusalem and Nazareth. In addition to the new rooms, the grant will also provide for the renovation of the Dan Pearl Hotel near the Jaffa and New Gates in Jerusalem.

Source: Israel Ministry of Tourism and Sar-El.

Scavenger Hunt – 6-pointed Star

In order to help prepare our travelers for their journey to Israel, we are going to create a photo scavenger hunt, which is a fun project that will provide a preview of things you will see and also create an interest in hunting for special sights in the Land.

Our first item is a 6-pointed “Jewish Star” that was carved in stone and used to decorate a synagogue in the Galilee. See if you can get a photo of this star on your next visit to Israel. (5 points)

Israel Tourism is UP

In spite of increased political tensions in the region, tourism to Israel was up this summer. Statistics from the Israel Ministry of Tourism indicate that almost 242,000 tourists entered the country in June 2012, which is a 6% increase over the previous year. Visitors from the Far East rose by 26%, while visitors from the Americas rose about 8%.

The increase in tourism is reflected in a 13% increase in overnights in Jerusalem hotels and 7% in Tiberius.

The positive numbers in tourism are good for Israel’s economy, but make it more difficult, though not impossible to find accommodations. Planning and booking a group tour early is the best way to beat the crowds. Discipleship Travel LLC is happy to help you plan your group’s next visit to Israel.

HT: Israel Ministry of Tourism and Sar-El.

Can we visit a diamond factory?

The short answer is yes. However, we should clarify that answer.

Typically, Discipleship Travel LLC does not make a visit to a diamond factory a compulsory stop for the whole group. Instead, the tour guide will inquire as to who in the group is interested in visiting a diamond factory. If anyone is interested, the guide will make arrangements for a visit one evening after the tour day is complete

There is no obligation to visit, or to buy anything if you do visit. Some people like to visit just to see what is available. Others have specific interests in buying a gemstone in Israel. Of course, the choice is yours.

Can we have a baptismal service?

For groups that desire a baptismal service, a visit to the Yardenit baptismal site at the Jordan River will be included in the itinerary. This is a beautiful setting at the south end of the Sea of Galilee where the Jordan River exits the lake.

The facility requires the use of a rental gown/robe.* Included in the $10 rental fee** is use of the changing room and warm showers, a towel, hair brush and a baptism certificate suitable for framing. Other services that are available for purchase*** include a videographer that offers a video of the group’s baptismal service, a professional still photographer is usually on site, a full service restaurant, a snack bar, and an extensive gift shop.

Our guides and teachers do not lead the baptism service or perform any baptisms. Those responsibilities are left to the group leader who is typically a pastor.

* If you think you may get baptized, for reasons of modesty, you should bring a swimsuit or other suitable covering to wear under the baptismal robe.

** The rental fee is not included in the tour price. Only those using this service are required to pay the fee.

*** The cost of any additional services are not included in the tour price and are the responsibility of the user.