More tourists during Jan. to Oct. 2010 than in all 2009

3 million visitors mark expected to be reached by next week, according to data by Tourism Ministry, CBS; over 400,000 visited Israel in October.

eilat generic (photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archives)
eilat generic
(photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archives)
Over two-and-a-half million tourists have visited Israel between January and October 2010, according to data released Wednesday by the Tourism Ministry and the Central Bureau of Statistics.
According to the data, the 2.87 million tourists amount to more than the total number of tourists for 2009 (2.7 million).
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Officials expect that the number will rise above three million by next week.
The statistics represent a growth of 27 percent over the same period in 2009 and 12% more than 2008.
The record to date is three million tourists. The year is expected to end with an estimated 3.3 million tourists who have visited Israel.
Tourism skyrocketed in October with 404,000 visitors. The amount was a record for the month and was also an increase of 23% over October 2009 and 34% over October 2008.
According to data by the CBS, 2.3 million tourists stay in Israel for at least one night. This was an increase of 22% from last year and 8% from 2008. Tourists totaling 129,500 arrived on cruise ships in October, two to three times as much as the last two years.  Those who arrived on direct flights to Eilat totaled 43,400, an growth of 20% from 2009 and 37% from 2008.
Excluding travel taxes, the Tourism Ministry estimates that about $2.3b was contributed to the Israeli economy as a result of tourism between January and August 2010. This is 37% more than the income for the same period during 2009.
"The October data, together with data since the beginning of this year and even beyond, reflects the revolution that the Tourism Ministry, the tourism industry, Israel’s tourism product and Israel’s image as a tourism destination is going through in Israel and around the world," said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov in a press release. "In order that Israel’s tourism potential is realized, tourism must be given its rightful place in the order of national priorities, as a leading social and economic force."