This week I heard some good news on the radio while driving (yes that does occasionally happen, too!)
It turns out that there are plans to turn the western side of the Haifa port into a tourist port similar to the one in Barcelona. The project is actually nicknamed “Project Haifa Barcelona.”
The idea is to build a port for tourists who come to Israel via one of the large pleasure ships that cruise the Mediterranean Sea during the summer months. As things stand now, the Haifa Port is quite ugly. It is predominantly a port for commercial ships and the Israeli Navy.
However, from the harbor, as one pulls away from the coast, the beautiful Baha’i Gardens are clearly visible, as are the buildings of the German Colony. Beyond Haifa is the promise of the Galilee. Haifa Port is like a diamond in the rough ready to be polished.
For many years my husband and I have taken cruises from Haifa Port to various destinations on the Mediterranean Sea. These cruises have taken us to many of the Greek Islands, the Greek Mainland, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. On these travels we very often encountered large luxury cruise ships that were sailing to the same ports we were. As we disembarked at each port we were able to stroll around the city or take tours to places nearby.
I have always asked myself why this couldn’t happen in Israel as well. In the past few years I have seen a few of these cruise ships docked at Haifa Port. The Turkey we knew as a secular country is slowly disappearing under the new Moslem regime, and tourists and cruise line owners are looking for an alternative tourist destination with access to the Mediterranean Sea and places of interest to tourists.
Haifa can be that alternative. Located on the northern Israeli Shore, Haifa is a vibrant Israeli city with its own tourist attractions. It sits on the main railroad line by which one can travel up and down the country. It is a half an hour drive from many exotic spots in the Galilee and an hour and a half drive to Jerusalem.
The construction of a port designed to cater to foreign and local tourists has the potential to bring significant revenue to Israel in general, and to Haifa in particular. The prices of properties in the lower and central parts of the city, which are currently very low, will be enhanced immensely. If this project is brought to fruition Haifa will be a place for serious real estate investors to keep a close eye on.