ISRAEL – 20 days before the Eurovision Song Contest begins, prices of flights and hotels in Israel indicate that the expected wave of tourists has failed to materialize. Hotel prices have already fallen, and airline ticket prices are have not reached peak levels.
A check by “Globes” shows that a roundtrip easyJet flight from Berlin on the Eurovision Song Context weekend can be found for €300, while prices during vacation dates and holidays are much higher. We found an easyJet flight from London for $310 and a roundtrip El Al flight from London for $518, normal prices for the season.
We found direct flights from Brussels or Zurich on the Eurovision Song Contest weekend for $350. A direct flight from Barcelona costs $380 on El Al and $400 on Norwegian Airlines. We also found direct flights from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv for $400.
The supply of short-term rental apartments in Tel Aviv alone is 10,000. According to prices offered on Airbnb, there is a large supply, and anyone planning on raking in exorbitant prices from Eurovision Song Contest tourists will probably be disappointed. For example, we found a large selection of apartments for the May 16-May 19 weekend at NIS 400 per night for a couples in central locations two minutes away from the beach. Among other things, a renovated studio apartment on the beachfront suitable for three guests is being offered for NIS 380 a night. An apartment in the area of the Levinsky market can be found for NIS 250 per night for a couple, and a studio apartment in the heart of Jaffa’s flea market for four guests can be found for NIS 525 per night.
There is also a range of hotel options at reasonable prices for Tel Aviv. Hotel Rothschild 22, for example, is offering four nights for NIS 5,470 for a couple, including breakfast. A similar price is available from the Market House boutique hotel in Jaffa. Four nights at the Grand Beach Hotel are available for a couple at NIS 2,850, including breakfast.
Prices are higher than at “ordinary” times, for example 20-30% higher than on the weekend following the Eurovision Song Contest. These differences, however, are smaller than the price levels offering in Tel Aviv hotels just a few months ago. A check by the HotelsCombined website for “Globes” in September 2018 found that a two-night (Friday through Sunday) weekend at Hotel Rothschild 22 was priced at NIS 7,400 for a couple, while the price has now fallen to NIS 3,200.
Even without the Eurovision Song Contest, May features high occupancy rates by the business community. For example, a large med-tech conference, Biomed 2019, is scheduled during Eurovision Song Contest week at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv.
Many tickets still unsold
The supply of tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest performances also shows that the high cost of visiting the contest is having an effect. Many tickets to the performances are still unsold: the finals, two semifinals and the rehearsals for each of these performances.
Thousands of tickets for all of the performances are still on sale, including hundreds of tickets at NIS 2,000 each to the Green Room area for watching the final together with the delegations. Tickets to the semifinals are on sale for NIS 1,000-1,250.
There are 7,300 seats in the auditorium, far fewer than in previous Eurovision Song Contests. In Lisbon, for example, the hall contained 20,000 seats for each of the performances. Ticket prices in Lisbon, for example, were significantly lower, varying from €35 to €300 for the most expensive tickets.
There are also many unsold tickets to the rehearsals. Hundreds of tickets for seats in the auditorium at NIS 1,000-1,250 and seats with a partial view of the stage at NIS 400 are available to the second (judges) rehearsal for the final, which will take place the day before the final performance.
The hall will be even emptier for the judges’ rehearsal for the first semifinal – thousands of tickets are unsold. The prices for the semifinal rehearsal were cut before the second set of tickets went on sale, and now range from NIS 150 for a partial view of the stage to NIS 250 and NIS 400 for other seats in the hall. Tickets to the rehearsals at Lisbon were sold for a mere €10-80.
The price differences are even starker for tickets for places accessible to people with disabilities. The price for tickets for people with wheelchairs in Lisbon was $50, compared with NIS 1,700 in the Eurovision Song Contest Final in Tel Aviv.
The Israel Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) said, “The sale of tickets to the Green Room, the semifinals, and the rehearsals is continuing. Tickets to the rehearsals and semifinals are relatively low, and this is an excellent opportunity for people to enjoy a show never before seen in Israel.”