Tourists visit the the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (Sebi Berens/Flash90) (Sebi Berens/Flash90)
Israel tourism

The first half of 2018 set a new record for tourism to the Holy Land, with about 2.1 million visitors and NIS 12 billion in revenues.

By: United with Israel Staff

If it seems that there are more tourists enjoying Israeli historical sites such as the Western Wall and Masada, it’s not an illusion. Israel’s tourism industry set a new record in the first half of 2018, and for the first time, the threshold of two million visits in six months was crossed.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 310,200 tourist entries were recorded in June 2018, about two percent more than the previous June and a 31-percent increase over June 2016.

In the first half of 2018, about 2.1 million tourist entries were recorded, a sharp 19-percent increase on the same period last year and 26 percent more than in 2016.

Revenue from tourism in June reached about NIS 1.66 billion, and since the beginning of the year, tourism has injected more than NIS 12 billion into the Israeli economy.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin praised his ministry’s marketing efforts and activities that are leading Israel to new records.

“I am pleased to see that the first half of the year has borne the fruit of our intensive marketing endeavors and activities around the world,” he stated.

In advance of the upcoming winter season, Israel is already seeing an increase in the number of flights from Europe to Eilat, with new airlines joining this momentum.

The year 2017 set a new record for tourism to the Holy Land, with about 3.6 million tourists and NIS 20 billion in revenues from tourism alone. According to data, tourists from nations across the globe are arriving in greater numbers.

For instance, there was a 76-percent increase in tourism from China during 2017, in comparison to 2016. There were also dramatic increases in tourism from Russia and the US, the latter of which represents the largest source of incoming tourism for Israel.

“I am sure that all tourism-related enterprises will feel these results in the tourism industry, which contributes tens of billions of dollars every year to the Israeli economy,” Levin concluded.

It is of significance that the increase in incoming tourism occurred despite upheaval in the region and threats to Israel’s borders, which normally drive away tourists.

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