Tourist number 4 million to check in next week

December 27, 2018 by Lydia Weitzman
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The arrival next week of the 2018’s 4 millionth tourist in Israel sums up a year of record-breaking tourism – with an expected increase of 13% on 2017 and total revenue from tourism exceeding NIS 24 billion (A$9 billion).

Yariv Levin

In addition, leading international market research firm EuroMonitor named Jerusalem as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the world – more than any other city in the world. There is a marked increase in tourist entries to Israel, mainly from destinations in which the Ministry of Tourism has invested in marketing over the past two years. For example, there is a significant increase in the number of tourists coming from the United States (813,500), France (320,000), Russia (303,200), Germany 259,500, Britain about 200,000 and from China (about 100,000).

40% of tourists who arrived in Israel this year are returning tourists who have already visited Israel – proof that Israel is a desirable destination in the world. In 2018, 61% of all tourists were Christian, 22% were Jews, 12.1% were not affiliated, 1.8% were Muslim, 0.6% were Buddhists, 0.5% were Hindus, and 0.1% were Bahais and 1.7% others.

As in previous years, the Ministry of Tourism gave grants to entrepreneurs to encourage the establishment and expansion of hotels in various cities, from north to south. This year, NIS 145 million was allocated to help entrepreneurs build 3,829 new rooms, representing an annual year on year growth of 49%.

The Ministry of Tourism invested NIS 350 million in marketing Israel as a tourism destination around the world, including, among others, in the USA, Germany, Russia, Italy, England, China, Ukraine, Brazil, the Philippines, etc. This investment yielded an average increase of 13% in the number of tourists from those countries.

Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin commented: “I am excited to welcome next week Israel’s 4 millionth tourist in 2018. This represents the unprecedented success of the Tourism Ministry, which invests in marketing Israel around the world, including collaborations such as with Carrefour, the largest retail chain in Europe, to market and sell Israel tourism packages; campaigns throughout the world; effective agreements signed with airlines and the opening of new direct routes into Israel from a variety of countries. This includes the latest agreement signed with the Philippine Minister of Labor to increase the quota of up to one thousand foreign workers in the hotel sector. All these are bearing fruit, and have injected more than NIS 20 billion into the Israeli economy so far this year and created thousands of jobs. We will continue to work to develop and increase incoming tourism to Israel.”

In recent years, the Ministry of Tourism has been working to position Israel as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world and to increase the number of incoming tourists through a series of activities. These include, among others, encouraging new direct routes to open from new destinations with incoming tourism potential for Israel; a change in marketing strategy while placing the emphasis on leisure and good weather year-round; re-branding of the tourism product, including the development of tourism to the south and the development of tourism infrastructure in the desert; collaboration with the world’s leading online travel agents such as Expedia; new aviation agreements and leveraging marketing opportunities such as the Giro d’Italia and the Eurovision.

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