Christmas Haifa 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Incoming tourism continues to set records.
In November, 310,000 visitors
entered the country, a 23 percent increase over November 2009. Since the
beginning of 2010, 3.18 million tourists have visited Israel, with the figure
expected to reach 3.45 million by December 31. This represents a 14% increase
over 2008’s previous maximum.
Another record broken in November was an
all-time high of 2.6 million tourists who stayed in Israel for at least one
night. Within the period January-November more people stayed overnight than in
all of 2008.
November also saw 438,000 one-day visitors (52% more than in
the same month in 2009 and 33% more than in 2008).
Cruise ships brought
151,500 visitors, doubling previous years’ figures.
“The success of the
Tourism Ministry’s marketing activities and, as a result, the increase in
incoming tourism, has a direct and immediate effect on the creation of thousands
of new jobs throughout Israel and the injection of hundreds of millions of
dollars into the state coffers,” Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov
“Tourists who return home satisfied and full of experiences from
their visit become ambassadors for Israel, and their actions join those of the
ministry in improving Israel’s image overseas while presenting the country as an
attractive, varied and sought-after tourism destination.”
The ministry is
currently preparing for the arrival of 90,000 tourists over the Christmas
period. The tourists and pilgrims are expected to visit the holy sites and
participate in the masses to be held in Bethlehem and Nazareth.
to its spokeswoman, the Tourism Ministry is working in cooperation with the
heads of the Christian communities in Israel, the Israel Police, mayors, the
Civil Administration’s Coordination and Liaison Administration, the Palestinian
Tourism Authority and other relevant bodies to facilitate a welcoming entry and
departure from Israel and a pleasant visiting experience.
“Due to the
high volume of tourists expected to pass through Ben-Gurion Airport, and the
Allenby and Taba border crossings, the Tourism Ministry is working in
cooperation with the Airports Authority to ensure a speedy and comfortable
passage for tourists.
Extra brochures and explanatory material in various
languages have been delivered to the tourist offices in Jerusalem, Nazareth and
Ben-Gurion Airport as well as Rachel’s crossing [to Bethlehem], and additional
staff will man these offices over the holiday period,” the spokeswoman
The ministry will arrange free shuttle transport for pilgrims from
Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The shuttles will leave every hour on the hour from the
Mar Elias Monastery for the Church of the Nativity and back.
is an excellent opportunity to continue cooperation with the heads of the
Christian communities and the millions of believers around the world, tens of
thousands of whom are expected to visit the Holy Land in the coming days,”
“The Christian community, in its various denominations
with hundreds of millions of believers, represents one of the central anchors
for incoming tourism to Israel. The Tourism Ministry works with Christian
communities in Israel and around the world throughout the year to increase
collaboration with opinion formers, community leaders and the faithful who
represent a bridge for peace and the opportunity to promote pilgrimage to the