Israel had a record start to the year for incoming tourism, data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics released Monday showed. According to the data, 1.4 million visitors arrived in the months of January through May this year, a six percent increase from 2011 and a four percent increase from 2010, which was a record year.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov described the increase in tourism as proof "that the investment in the industry contributes to increased income for the economy and creates tens of thousands of new jobs."

Against the background of the global economic crisis, he continued, "the importance of investment in engines for growth becomes sharper and tourism is a central player in maintaining the robust Israeli economy."

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