A Room Up North
08/11/06
Staff Writer
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Pay now, stay later. That was the message from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism this week as it sought to convince Americans to pay now for a reduced rate at a hotel, bed and breakfast or guesthouse run by a kibbutz in northern Israel. The push is on to book as many rooms as possible because virtually all of those facilities and their nearly 11,000 rooms have been closed for more than a month because of the rockets Hezbollah terrorists have been firing into northern Israel. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said his group is co-sponsoring the project, called “Galilee Spirit,” because the owners of such establishments need financial help. “When a place is closed, it doesn’t necessarily reopen,” he said. “We hope that by having a continued flow of funds, they will be able to sustain themselves and continue to pay their employees. … By buying now, you ensure a flow of tourists later. ”Under the program, Americans have a chance to pay for one night’s stay at a price of either $80 or $100. In return, they receive a voucher that is redeemable when there is availability until next June 30. Meir Weingarten, president of Ariel Tours in Brooklyn, a leading wholesale tour operator to Israel, said the rates offered are at a substantial discount. He noted that some of the better hotels in the north charge in the $200 range. He said the project is “extremely important” both for the hotel industry and all of those who supply goods to the hotels. “It’s a nice initiative that is a win-win for everybody,” he said. For further information, call 800-738-0548.

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