AN EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Ben-Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As it prepares to welcome swarms of travelers this Passover and Easter season, Israel is celebrating all-time tourism records for the first quarter of 2017.
From the beginning of the year through the end of March, 739,000 tourists entered Israel, a 24% increase from the same period last year, and an estimated NIS 4 billion boost to the economy, the Tourism Ministry announced on Sunday. In March alone, 293,000 visitors, 22% more than in the same month last year.
“For the past few consecutive months, we are witnessing record highs in incoming tourism, and I am pleased that March is also a record month for tourist entries,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said on Sunday. “This is not coincidence – it is a result of policy. We are implementing marketing activities and taking innovative steps to brand Israel, and we are bringing new airlines and routes into the country – and all this is proving itself month after month.”
Of the 739,000 tourists who arrived in Israel in the first quarter of 2017, about 655,000 traveled by air, 20% more than during the same period in 2016. The boost in visitors has generated an estimated additional NIS 730m., creating 5,000 more jobs than the tourism industry did in the first quarter of 2016.
“Israel is an attractive and varied tourism destination and we are proving that if we work correctly, it is possible to bring tourists here,” Levin said.
“I am convinced that if we continue on this path, we will see significant increases in incoming tourism in the future.”