(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
More than a million tourists visited Israel in the first quarter of 2011, a 4
percent increase over the same period in 2010, the Tourism Ministry announced on
Counting those arriving by air and cruise passengers, 1,040,000
visitors arrived in Israel during the first quarter of the year, including
300,000 in April alone – 18% more than visited Israel in April 2009.
figures for the first quarter would put Israel on track to break 2010’s tourism
record, when around 3.45 million tourists visited Israel.
Minister, Stas Meseznikov, on Sunday said the positive figures for Israeli
tourism come in spite of the volatility currently roiling much of the Middle
“The Tourism Ministry must contend with the geopolitical situation
in the region that is influencing incoming tourism into Israel as well,”
Meseznikov said. “In recent weeks, the ministry initiated several marketing
activities to increase demand for tourism to Israel, and will continue with
these activities over the coming months.
“Marketing activities have
succeeded in increasing the number of incoming tourists who stay more than one
night in Israel and, as a result, tourism’s percentage of the GDP has grown.
Revenue from tourism in the period January through April has grown to $940
million – 3% more than the same period last year.”
offered his hope that the Fatah-Hamas unity deal would not bring any sort of
disruption to tourism in the West Bank, a major source of income for the
“Because of the reconciliation agreement between
Fatah and the Hamas, the Tourism Ministry is working to ensure a continuation of
the tourism cooperation and continued access to the holy sites and places that
are located within the Palestinian Authority,” he said.