Some 75,000 tourists expected to visit Israel for Christmas

The Tourism Ministry expects around 75,000 tourists to visit Israel this Christmas, a third of them Christian religious pilgrims, the ministry said on Tuesday.
According to Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov “about 60% of all visitors to Israel are Christian. The Christian community is a central anchor in marketing incoming tourism to Israel.”
The ministry said in order to accommodate the influx, for 24 hours they will offer free transportation between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with shuttle buses leaving every 15-20 minutes from Mar Elias Monastery to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square and back, from December 24th at noon to Christmas day at noon.
The ministry said that they expect 2012 to break their incoming tourism records, with around 3.3 million by the end of November.