Israel pulled in a staggering amount of tourists in 2022, totaling a whopping 2.67 million by year’s end.
While that’s certainly a victory for a nation recovering from the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t seem like Israel will be sitting back and resting on its laurels in the coming year. Already several programs have been announced or even set in motion that will likely increase the number of visitors to the holy land even further beyond last year’s number.
International tourism partnership programs
By advancing ties with cooperating nations, Israel’s Tourism Ministry has high hopes for increasing the number of tourists coming in from abroad. Such partnerships have already yielded fruit, such as the sixth UN World Tourism Organization conference on wine tourism which took place in Alba last September and the 1st Global Youth Tourism Summit in Sorrento in June.
These two events were held in collaboration with Italy. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last March, Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia noted that the European country also stands to benefit from the arrangements, as there’s certainly nothing wrong with a healthy serving of Israeli tourists visiting Milan, for example.
“We’re aiming to increase tourism by young people - this is particularly relevant for Israel, which is a very young nation,” explained Garavaglia. “We’re trying to develop strategic campaigns to let the young public understand all the possibilities that Italy has to offer to youths.”
More direct flights
Another very clear source for increased tourism in 2023 is the opening of several direct flight routes to hot destinations around the world. Direct flight lines from Tel Aviv expected to be available in 2023 include Boston, Atlanta, Japan, Ireland and Australia.
Most recently, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Seoul, South Korea, have opened. Following a meeting with Korean Ambassador to Israel Kim Il-soo in August, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov noted that the ministry is ”Continuing to market the State of Israel with the renewal of flight lines - increasing tourism, lowering the prices, and connecting Israel to the world.”
Foreign media grants
A less-straightforward avenue for incoming tourism is the promotion of foreign media production in Israel. In June, an inter-ministerial program dubbed the “Fund for the Promotion of Foreign Productions” was launched to the tune of 45 million shekels, with the aim to reimburse production expenses of up to 30% for foreign productions of films and series in Israel. The initiative is an effort to leverage the country’s natural beauty and historical significance to positively brand the country as a global center for feature filming.
“People from all over the world travel to destinations following movies they've seen, following favorite series and following admired stars,” said Tourism Ministry director-general, Dani Shahar.
"Apart from the fact that we live in a country that is an ideal setting for filming productions internationally, [...] the charm of Israel - which will certainly appear in the series and films produced here - will raise the status of our country among the countries of the world."