New record: 2.5 million tourists in Israel since January

Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov announces determination to target new markets to bring tourists to Israel, including Muslim ones.

Some 270,000 foreign tourists visited the country in September, an increase of 11 percent over September 2009 and 2% more than in 2008, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of the year, nearly 2.5 million tourists have visited – an increase of 27% over the same period in 2009 and 9% over 2008, Israel’s record tourism year to date.
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Two million of the visitors during the first nine months of 2010 stayed at least one night – an increase of 22% over last year and 5% over 2008.
“The incoming tourism figures for the end of the third quarter of 2010, as well as the cumulative figures since the beginning of the year, bear witness to the success of the marketing activities, and they are very important as a leverage for the tourism industry for 2011, in which the ministry is targeting the arrival of 3.7 million tourists,” said Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, who is currently visiting former Soviet Union countries to promote tourism to Israel.
“New countries and new target audiences are expressing an interest in visiting Israel and see it as an attractive tourism destination. In the next year, the Tourism Ministry will work to challenge these new target audiences including, for the first time, Muslim groups to visit Israel,” Meseznikov said.
The Tourism Ministry is investing about NIS 70 million this year in a range of marketing activities in target countries, including participation in tourism fairs, public relations activities, marketing agreements and professional seminars, according to a ministry spokeswoman.
“The emphasis will be placed on recruiting more wholesalers to market Israel and on increasing seat capacity and frequency on flights into Israel, as well as adding new routes,” the spokeswoman said.
“About NIS 40m. [of the NIS 70m. budget] will be invested in advertising, with a similar budget allocated to a continuation of the advertising campaign in the first quarter of 2011. The advertising campaigns, targeted at specific markets, will last for several months in the main source countries for incoming tourism, including the US, Russia, Germany, France, England and Scandinavia. In addition, marketing activities will take place in new countries that have shown an interest in Israel as a tourism destination, including South Korea, Poland, Ukraine and the former USSR.”