Visa reveals how Israeli tourists spend their money abroad

A new poll by multinational financial services corporation Visa examines the evolving traveling habits of Israeli tourists.

 TRAVELERS AT Ben-Gurion Airport this week. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
TRAVELERS AT Ben-Gurion Airport this week.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Israeli tourists spent an average of $2,219 (roughly NIS 7,700) abroad in 2022, multinational financial services corporation Visa revealed in a new Global Travel Intentions Survey released on Thursday.

This represents a drop in Israelis' travel budgets, as a similar survey issued by Visa in 2018 found that Israelis spent over $3,000 (NIS 10,400) on average abroad.

Israelis also carry less cash abroad than in the past, the survey found.

The percentage of Israelis who converted NIS to foreign currencies prior to leaving Israel dropped to 80%, down from 90% in the previous 2018 survey. The number of Israelis who converted leftover cash back to NIS at the end of their trip also decreased compared to 2018, with only 15% of respondents saying they converted leftover cash compared to 29% in the last survey conducted.

Traveling habits of Israeli tourists

The traveling habits of Israeli tourists have evolved since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Visa added, revealing Israelis now prefer shorter trips than they did before the coronavirus era.

A Visa credit card is seen on a computer keyboard in this picture illustration (credit: REUTERS/PHILIPPE WOJAZER)A Visa credit card is seen on a computer keyboard in this picture illustration (credit: REUTERS/PHILIPPE WOJAZER)

In 2018, the average travel duration booked by Israeli tourists was 8.9 days. In Visa's recent survey, that number decreased by over a quarter (27%) to 6.5 days.

Where do Israelis travel abroad?

What hasn't changed is Israelis' preferred vacation destination. 

According to the poll, three-fourths (75%) of respondents who say they plan to fly abroad later see European countries as their preferred destination, followed by nearby Mediterranean nations such as Turkey, Greece and Cyprus with 20%. Finally, 10% of respondents say the United States is their preferred destination.

Europe remained the top tourist destination for Israelis before and after the pandemic.

A majority (53%) of Israelis plan to travel during the High Holidays in September and October, the poll found, while 17% say they intend to fly abroad again before the end of the year.

The pandemic's 'transformational effect' on tourism

"The changes in the touristic spend habits of Israeli travelers revealed by the research show how their payments behavior evolved between 2018 and 2022," Sevi Vassileva, VP and General Manager for Israel, Greece, Cyprus and Malta's Visa branches said.

"The pandemic has had a transformational effect for consumers in adopting contactless, online and mobile payments, and the research confirms that Israeli travelers indeed use their cards more while traveling abroad."

Some 550 Israelis over the age of 18 participated in the poll, which was conducted by Israeli polling and research company New Wave Research.