by Hillel Fendel, IsraelNationalNews.com
Tourism to Israel broke yet another all-time record in November, when 310,000 visitors entered the country – more than during any previous month in modern history.
This was 23% more than in November of 2009, and 19% more than the same month in 2008, which was Israel’s previous record year for tourism.
3.18 million tourists visited Israel in the first 11 months of this year – 26% more than the same period in 2009, and 12% more than that of 2008. This year has already become a record-breaking year, with more tourists having arrived in Israel so far than in all of 2008.
According to Tourism Ministry estimates, the record-breaking year of 2010 will finish with 3.45 million tourists – 26% more than 2009 and 14% more than 2008. Nearly 70% of them are Christian tourists.
The Tourism Ministry is preparing for the expected arrival of over 70,000 Christian tourists and pilgrims over the Christmas period – which, fortunately for Israeli tourism, is celebrated over a two-week period by different churches.
The Ministry estimates that 2.4 million Christian tourists – half of them pilgrims – are expected to visit Israel by the end of 2010, double the amount that visited Israel in 2009.
Another record was also achieved this year: 2.6 million tourists stayed in Israel for at least one night between January and November of this year – more than the total for all of 2008, which was 2,572,000.There were also 438,000 one-day visitors – a whopping 52% more than 2009 and 33% more than 2008. 151,500 visited Israel on cruise ships, a two to three-fold compared to the last two years.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said, “The success of the Tourism Ministry’s marketing activities and the resulting increase in incoming tourism has a direct and immediate effect on the creation of thousands of new jobs throughout Israel and the injection of hundreds of millions of dollars into the state coffers. Tourists who return home satisfied and full of experiences from their visit become ambassadors for Israel, and their actions join those of the Ministry in improving Israel’s image overseas while presenting the country as an attractive, varied and sought-after tourism destination.
It’s great that more people are chosing Israel as thier vacation destination.
There is plenty to see here-the beautiful north, great beach strip, Tel Aviv night life, Masada (UNESCO heritage site), Dead sea (salt lake, that has been chosen as one of the 28 finalists in the new7wonders campaign, you can vote here http://www.votedeadsea.com), Jerusalem and the holy sites, the desert in the south and of course Eilat (the diving site of Israel).
I’m planning of visiting Israel for the first time in May of 2010…looking forward to it!