You will not believe how many tourists came to Israel in 2022

An unreal number of tourists came to Israel in 2022, injecting NIS 13.5 billion into the economy.

A GROUP OF French tourists and their guide in Jerusalem’s Old City this week. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A GROUP OF French tourists and their guide in Jerusalem’s Old City this week.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

More than 2.67 million tourists arrived in the Holy Land in 2022, a huge spike after the industry took a big hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As COVID-19 rammed into Israel and countries worldwide, 2020 only saw a mere 831,000 tourists and 2021 less than half that with 397,000. So seeing millions arriving in Israel this past year was a huge win.

These still are not pre-pandemic numbers, mind you. The year 2019 was a record year for Israel’s tourism industry, with over 4.55 million tourists coming to visit.

Nevertheless, 2022’s tourists brought a massive income into the country of NIS 13.5 billion.

According to the Tourism Ministry, while North American tourists came far more this year than they had the previous two years, their number in 2022 is still 19% lower than 2019.

 Tourist entries by month 2019-2022 (in thousands) January to December, (L to R) (credit: TOURISM MINISTRY) Tourist entries by month 2019-2022 (in thousands) January to December, (L to R) (credit: TOURISM MINISTRY)

Central and South America, however, both saw significant growth in the arrival of tourists in 2022 compared to 2019. Central America saw a massive 50% increase – from approximately 33,250 tourists in 2019 to 50,000 in 2022 – while South America saw an even higher 92% increase – from approximately 65,450 to 125,800.

"Our goal is to reduce obstacles, to launch projects that increase the accommodation supply and develop infrastructure, to fully realize the tourism potential in the country."

Tourism Minister Haim Katz

The most tourists came in October of 2022, with approximately 333,500 entering the country that month. The weakest month was January, when coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions were at their peak so only about 46,200 tourists entered the country.

Tourism Minister talks about tourism numbers of the year

Newly inaugurated Tourism Minister Haim Katz saw the tourism numbers of the year as an improvement, claiming that “breaking the incoming tourism record of 2019 is a realistic goal on the horizon,” adding that “2022 was a year of recovery from the [coronavirus] crisis.

“Our goal is to reduce obstacles, to launch projects that increase the accommodation supply and develop infrastructure to fully realize the tourism potential in the country.”

He further spoke in favor of “domestic tourism,” or “staycations” as many like to call them, saying that they have proven themselves to be “an economic force just as essential as incoming tourism.”

The industry has now set its sights on bringing Israel to the next level of tourism, with hotels cropping up left and right and major international players hedging their bets on the post-pandemic spike.