PM Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (R) in Jerusalem with 2017's 3 millionth tourist and her partner. (Haim Zach/GPO) (Haim Zach/GPO)
Netanyahu Levin 3-millionth tourist


Netanyahu surprised the three-millionth tourist to Israel this year by acting as her personal guide at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem.

Israel on Tuesday welcomed the 3,000,000th tourist to visit the Holy Land in 2017 in a special ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport, setting a new annual record with nearly two months to go in the calendar year.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin personally greeted the tourist, Ioana Isac of Romania, who arrived together with her partner Mihai Georgescu to celebrate his birthday. The biggest surprise for the couple, however, came when they arrived at the Tower of David Museum in the Old City of Jerusalem, where they learned that their guide was none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The couple is being treated to a dream holiday as guests of the Israel Tourism Ministry. The experience includes an upgrade to a pampering hotel suite, a ride in a limousine, a helicopter tour in the skies of Israel, a unique Dead Sea experience, a culinary tour in the Yemenite quarter and other activities and surprises that will be tailored to their personal preferences.

Levin said the growing tourism sector in Israel is a vote of confidence in the country’s investment in tourism infrastructure in recent years, and added that the record shows that Israel has become a tourist destination for people looking for an enjoyable holiday spot and not only for visitors motivated by religion or ideology.

‘Huge Addition to the Israeli Economy’

He also said the current pace of tourism has outstripped the previous record by more than 500,000 people.

“We’re only at the beginning of November,” Levin said. “We’ll have another half a million tourists visit by the end of the year. It’s a huge addition to the Israeli economy.”

“This is a special day and an historic milestone as we break the 3-million-tourist barrier and we are set to end the year with an amazing achievement, the likes of which has never been reached since the establishment of the state,” Levin stated ahead of the occasion. “The huge investment that we are making in marketing Israel around the world and our collaborations with airlines and tour operators is bearing fruit.”

Tourism has become one of the most significant economic engines in the Israeli economy – since the beginning of the year, revenue from incoming tourism stands at about NIS 17 billion.

Since the beginning of the year, the leading source countries for incoming tourism are USA, Russia, France, Germany and Britain. The ministry placed a strategic emphasis on incoming tourism from China, with a subsequent increase of tens of percentage points over the previous year. The ministry’s new strategy and marketing activities have brought Israel to this all-time high, and 2017 is expected to close as Israel’s record year for incoming tourism.

By: United with Israel Staff and TPS

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