Jerusalem ranks as Israel's number one destination for incoming tourists

Compared to the 74% of tourists who visited Tel Aviv that same year, Jerusalem pulled out just ahead of the White City as Israel's most popular destination.

 A GENERAL view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City last year.  (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
A GENERAL view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City last year.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Jerusalem is the most sought out destination for tourists visiting Israel from abroad, according to new data published by the Tourism Ministry.
Around 79% of tourists visiting Israel in 2019 (3.6 out of 4.55 million) stopped in Jerusalem to wade through the streets of the Israeli capital and the historic sites of the Old City during their tour of the Jewish state.
Compared to the 74% of tourists who visited Tel Aviv that same year, Jerusalem pulled just ahead of the White City as Israel's most popular destination.
Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel experienced a record year for incoming tourism in 2019, with approximately 4.55 million foreign tourists visiting the Jewish State that year - an 11% jump from 2018, injecting around NIS 23 billion into the economy.
“Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is a city with history, depth, variety and spectacular beauty, and it is also the favorite destination for tourists from abroad - which provides a livelihood for many thousands of Jerusalemites," said Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen. "I sincerely hope that in the near future we will be able to see tourists roaming the Old City, the Mahane Yehuda market, the pedestrian mall and the First Station complex."
"The tourists, who are so lacking in the Jerusalem landscape, not only visit the Holy Land, they also strengthen the entire Israeli economy," Farkash-Hacohen added. "In years past, Jerusalem was a magnet for millions of Christians from around the world. I have no doubt that, in the coming years, it will also attract Arab and Muslim tourists from the Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain and other countries.”
Israel is preparing for the return of international tourism following a year-long hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with skies set to open up to foreign tourists in late May.
Israel is set to reopen its borders to tourists on May 23, but to allow in only vaccinated or recovered people.
At the moment, the only country whose health documents the government recognizes is Bahrain, but several government officials have told The Jerusalem Post that in the next few weeks more agreements are expected to follow suit.
Visitors coming from countries whose vaccination or recovery certificates are not recognized will be required to undertake a serological test to prove the presence of antibodies in their blood after arriving in Israel, in addition to two PCR tests: one before boarding the plane and one after landing.

Zachary Keyser, Eytan Halon and Rosella Tercatin contributed to this report.