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Forbes Travel Guide excludes Israeli luxury hotel properties from 2024 'Star Award' ranking after 6 consecutive years

FOX News and others claim the war in Gaza may be the reason

Dan Accadia Hotel and Ritz Carlton Hotel, Herzliya (Photo: David Shai/Wikimedia Commons)

The war between Hamas and Israel has had a negative impact on Israel's hotel rankings in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide, according to a FOX News report on Wednesday.

Before the war broke out between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas last October, three luxury Israeli hotels – The Norman in Tel Aviv, The Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya and The Setai in Tel Aviv – had earned a spot on the Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) “Star Awards” list for at least six consecutive years from 2018 to 2023.

However, in 2024, the honor was not awarded to those premier hotels or any Israeli hotel properties.

According to the Forbes website, The Travel Guide is “the only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruises.” The annual FTG listing categorizes hotels, spas, restaurants and cruises as "recommended”, “4-star” or “5-star” quality.

FTG serves as a travel resource in over 85 countries around the world and was originally called the Mobi Travel Guide in 1958 at its founding. The guide was responsible for the 5-star rating system for services and facilities used throughout the travel industry.

Dan Eleff, the founder of DanDeals, a website that helps Jewish travelers score the best travel deals, said the removal of Israeli hotels from the list has caused him and others in the Jewish community to question the sudden change in ranking. 

"I'm definitely curious to know: Is this an oversight?" he asked. "Because in the past, just last year, they honored several luxury hotels in Israel... So, I'm wondering why it's now completely wiped off the map."

"Especially just post-October 7th, where we’ve seen antisemitism and obviously anti-Zionism just explode immediately after the massacre and even before Israel responded, the world seemed to have gone crazy ... and I'm curious, is something nefarious going on here, or why exactly is Israel just completely left off when three hotels won awards last year?" Eleff noted.

While there was no reason given for the removal of Israeli hotels from the 2024 listing there has been some speculation it has to do with security reasons due to he ongoing war in Gaza.

"For the 66th annual list of the best hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruises, FTG explored destinations offering meaningful experiences as well as smaller U.S. cities that are often overlooked. The awards also expanded to new destinations, including Azerbaijan, Curacao, Iceland, Kenya, Sardinia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines," Forbes wrote in its 2024 guide.

"FTG compiles its ratings using an objective, independent and data-driven process. Incognito inspectors pose as everyday guests and stay at hotels, board cruises, receive spa services and dine at fine restaurants around the world. They test some 900 exacting standards—such as whether a room is designed to promote sleep quality or whether the food-and-beverage choices support a guest’s well-being—emphasizing exceptional service, which accounts for 70 percent of a property’s rating."

Eleff wrote that Israel's absence from the list was "very curious."

"You're not just relying on word of mouth in your own narrow circle, but you meet new cultures and experience new cultures," he said. "I mean, just looking through their site … it's very curious that Israel is not on there at all. It doesn't really speak to the tolerance that normally is involved with travel, so it's pretty surprising to me that nothing would come up for Israel at this point."

The article noted that the Middle East emerged as the region with the highest number of 5-star ratings, pointing to hotel accommodations in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Other Middle East nations on the 2024 list included the Republic of Turkey, Egypt and the kingdoms of Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

"It's definitely curious that you go on their website and search for Egypt or Jordan or Saudi Arabia, and each of those has several hotels and many articles and Israel is seemingly just nothing, nothing comes up at all," Eleff explained. 

According to a 2022 article in The Jerusalem Post, Forbes Magazine, which publishes the influential 30 under 30 list, has held five "Under-30 Summits" in Israel. During one of those summits, Randall Lane, the chief content officer and editor at Forbes Magazine, praised Israel for its entrepreneurship

"We’re here because entrepreneurship is at the center of the global community," Lane said.

"We’re Forbes. We’re biased, not toward generic business leaders, but to founders, entrepreneurs, change-makers. And the DNA of this country, as it’s evolved over the last five, 10, 20 years – it’s just a very inspiring place to think about big ideas and think about big challenges."

"The success that Israel has had is incredibly inspiring," the Forbes chief added. "The challenges that Israel has are incredibly intoxicating because the problems are so big, but if solved, would be so, so monumental."

Forbes Travel reportedly did not respond to a request for comment regarding the exclusion of Israeli hotels this year.

Representatives from The Norman Tel Aviv, The Ritz-Carlton and The Setai Tel Aviv also did not respond to FOX News Digital's request for comment. 

Read more: TOURISM

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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