Gospel Trail hikers nature 311.
(photo credit: Ministry of Tourism)
A reduction in the cost of visiting Israel is central to Tourism Ministry plans
to increase the number of tourists entering the country, the ministry said on
During the annual Tourism Conference in Jerusalem, Tourism
Minister Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beiteinu) spoke about the ministry’s three-year
plan to increase by one million the number of tourists visiting Israel largely
through reducing the costs of visiting. For this purpose, Meseznikov has tasked
a committee with finding ways to bring down the average price of a visit to
Israel by 25 percent, and has until the end of 2012 to issue
Prices for food and lodging in Israel are far from budget
level and rival most of the more expensive destinations in Europe.
ministry said Tuesday they will lower prices through the development of better
professionalism among tourism workers, improvements in the tourism “product,”
and refurbishing of tourism infrastructure, as well as working on improving the
attractiveness of Israel as a destination.
They also described plans to
reach out to emerging markets in countries like China, Brazil and India, largely
as a result of the European financial crisis.
In addition, they will also
look to further develop markets in Eastern Europe, in particular in the Ukraine
According to figures released by the ministry on Tuesday, the
number of Israelis visiting Israel made a 1% climb over the previous year, which
set an all time record of 3.4 million.
The number one country of origin
for visitors was the United States with 600,000 and second was Russia with
500,000, ministry figures read.
The ministry said 24% of visitors were
Jews, 15% were Protestant, 35% Catholic, 10% “other Christians,” and the rest
were filed under “other.” No other religions, including Muslims, were mentioned
on the list.
The figures also found that 28% of visitors were on
religious pilgrimages, 24% were in town for sightseeing and touring, 17% were
visiting loved ones, 13% were on pure holiday rest and relaxation visits and 13%
came for business.