Israel’s 2014 tourism figures

January 5, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Despite Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the number of tourists in 2014 remains similar to that in 2013, thanks to the significant increase in the first half of 2013.

Uzi Landau     Pic: Henry Benjamin

Uzi Landau Pic: Henry Benjamin

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: ‘This year, which started with a steep increase in the number of tourists, posed difficult challenges to us. Despite Operation Protective Edge, we succeeded in maintaining the same number of tourists and hotel overnights, thanks to focused overseas marketing, and mainly as a result of the Israeli response to the “Vacation in Israel Now” campaign while the operation was still taking place. Israeli vacationers filled the hotels in the peak season of August, thereby supporting businesses in outlying areas and the Israeli economy. At the same time, we managed to bring down the cost of vacationing in Israel by increasing supply and incentivizing the construction of budget accommodation and camping options, as well as commencing the hotel ratings procedure. We have ensured that local authorities maintain a high level of maintenance of existing tourism infrastructure as a condition for ongoing construction and development. “

Ministry of Tourism Director General Amir Halevi: “Operation Protective Edge halted our momentum, but we can already see the light at the end of the tunnel, with recovery in the first half of 2015. The NIS 500 million assistance package assembled by the ministry for tourism businesses bolstered the industry, and restored our status as a growth engine that streaming tens of billions of shekels into the economy. This year, we put our emphasis on digital marketing aimed at independent travelers (FITs), who are keen to exploit the prices from the open skies policy and are ready to enjoy the city breaks we have on offer – to run marathons in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Galilee, to cycle in the Negev, to enjoy opera at Masada and in Akko and to have fun in Tel Aviv. We have invested in hosting thousands of opinion-formers from overseas who have become tourism ambassadors, spreading the word throughout the world of how good it is to visit Israel. “

 The vital statistics

The number of visitors (including cruise ships) decreased by 7%

22 million bed-nights in Israeli hotels in 2014, 1% less than 2013

3% increase in domestic tourism compared to 2013

Satisfaction levels range from very good to excellent (4.3 out of 5). Services receiving the highest satisfaction ratings include archeological sites (4.5); guided tours and tour guides (4.4) and personal safety (4.3) 

Leading source countries for incoming tourism:

USA, Russia, France and Germany

56% of incoming tourists were Christian 

Tourism’s contribution to the economy: about NIS 41 billion

Over 200,000 employed in the tourism industry (about 6% of total workforce) 

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