The city of Tel Aviv has become a paradise for international business travelers seeking to stay in touch with their home offices while they visit the Holy Land. With the many hotspots and free Wi-Fi services offered at hotels, restaurants, fast food chains and cafés, business travelers can check e-mail almost everywhere, make free transatlantic VoIP calls using Skype, and browse the net to keep abreast of the latest news in their respective fields.
The rapid growth in the number of wireless Internet users around the world has created a need for many people to rely on Wi-Fi connections while traveling. The advantage of using Wi-Fi is that it gives business and leisure travelers added mobility and flexibility.
The ability to access the net from almost everywhere has become a necessity for business travelers who want to keep in touch with colleagues and clients regardless of their physical locations, and who want to check e-mail between meetings. Those equipped with smart-phones and other wireless handheld devices, such as Blackberry, can use them all around Israel without difficulty.
A Wi-Fi Alliance survey indicates that 70 percent of current and prospective Wi-Fi users report they are more likely to take their notebook computers when traveling on vacation thanks to the widespread availability of wireless networking hotspots in airports, hotels, parks, and restaurants. Wi-Fi provides a quick and simple means for travelers to change flight and hotel reservations, reserve rental cars and conduct last-minute trip planning. Travelers also find Wi-Fi helps them locate restaurants, gather information about local events and find popular as well as "off-the-beaten-track" attractions.
Unlike Europe and the United States where most places charge for internet use, almost all establishments in Israel's business capital offer Internet services free of charge. Take, for example, the Atlas Hotel chain. Atlas grants all its guests free, unlimited broadband access to the Web from the hotel lobby, meeting rooms or from private guest rooms using a Wi-Fi hot spot, which is an area that allows high-speed wireless Internet access.
According to a recent survey, there are more than 200 hotspots available for laptop users in the greater Tel Aviv area alone. The majority of these are offered by hotels, restaurants and coffee shops, but visitors to Israel can also access the net at gas stations, hospitals, parks, universities, shopping malls and other places of interest such as Rabin Square in downtown Tel Aviv.
The number of hot spots in Israel has been doubled in each of the previous few years and is expected to continue growing at that pace in the foreseeable future. Any businessman with a laptop computer can check e-mail almost anywhere without having to pay for it.
Here is a list of hotspots in Tel Aviv that offer free high-speed wireless Internet access:
The Atlas hotel chain offers unlimited and free of charge Wi-Fi services in six of its Tel Aviv hotels: Basel Hotel, Tal Hotel, Melody Hotel, City Hotel, Cinema Hotel and Center Hotel. The services is available in the main banquet halls, restaurants, pool area, bar and the hotel lobby.
Arcaffè chain not only offers real Italian espresso in Tel Aviv, but also offers high quality wireless access in its coffee bars, from Ramat Aviv mall in north Tel Aviv to Rothschild Boulevard at the finance center of the city.
Other large coffee chains - including Aroma, Cup 'O' Joe, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Coffee To Go, and Ilan's offer free wireless services, as do Marilyn Monroe Café, Noah Coffee, Coffee Print and others.
Restaurants & Fast Food Chains
Leading American fast food chains McDonald's and Burger King offer free wireless services in their branches in Tel Aviv. In addition, there is a Wi-Fi spot in the Brasseire Restaurant on Ibn Gavirol Street near Rabin Square, Kyoto Salsa restaurant and Messa, one of Tel Aviv's most elegant restaurants.
Convenience Stores and Gas Stations
The Yellow chain, located at Dor Alon gas stations and Sonol gas stations offer free Wi-Fi services.
At the trendy Tel Aviv Port there's no need to enter one of the many restaurants or bars in the area. This prime entertainment center features Wi-Fi Internet access, meaning web surfers and businessmen can take a seat on the boardwalk and connect to cyberspace.
Dizengoff shopping mall in central Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport also feature Wi-Fi hotspots.
So don't think twice about taking a laptop on a business trip to Tel Aviv. One is immediately connected upon landing in Israel - not just to the warm, friendly people of the Holy Land, but to all people connected to the net. Home away from home, they call it in the hospitality industry.
Boaz Babai is the Founder and CEO of ARPU~UP, a Web 2.0 Marketing Strategy Consulting firm. ARPU~UP provides Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Smart Guerrilla Marketing Services to Atlas Tel Aviv Hotels, a leading mid-luxury hotels chain in Tel Aviv City for business and leisure travels.
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