Israel sees increase in February tourism, despite coronavirus fears

March 5, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s tourism industry recorded an increase in visits in February, despite the global scare over the spread of Coronavirus and its effect on international tourism.

Tourists walk through the streets in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Nov 6, 2019. Photo by Yehonatan Valtser/TPS

Some 344,000 tourists entered Israel in February, an increase of 0.5% compared to February 2019, and an increase of 14.7% compared to February 2018.

A total of 652,500 tourists visited Israel in January-February, an increase of 4.1% compared to the beginning of 2019.

The estimated revenue from tourism in February is $486 million. Since the beginning of 2020, the estimated revenue from incoming tourists is $922 million.

Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin stated that the industry is “registering tremendous achievements when, for three years, every month, all-time highs in tourist numbers  are broken, highs that put tens of billions into the state coffers.”

He also expressed satisfaction over February’s “extraordinary” numbers.

“Despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the number of tourists arriving in Israel did not decline, but rather it further increased,” he stated.

However, he cautioned that the continued spread of the Coronavirus is expected to reduce the number of tourists and “will be felt in the coming month.”

Tourism Ministry director Amir Levi warned that Israel was at “the beginning of a crisis, which could damage the entire industry in Israel, as well as in many countries in the world.”

“It is a global event that is unclear how and when it will end, but the Ministry of Tourism is already preparing for the Corona’s ‘day after,’ with the aim of bringing tourism back to the days of success and breaking records,” he added.

Israel has established a special team to monitor the effects of Coronavirus on the Israeli economy.

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