Israel reports another year of tourism growth
Israel enjoyed another strong year of tourism growth in 2018, with more than 4.1 million tourists visiting the country, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Approximately 325,600 tourist entries were recorded in December 2018, 12.2 per cent more than December 2017 and 31% up on the 2016 total. Revenue from tourism in December reached about $460 million (NIS 1.7 billion).
Over 4.1 million tourist entries have been recorded in Israel in the period January – December 2018, an increase of about 14% compared to the previous year, with revenue from tourism reaching about $5.8 billion (about NIS 22 billion) in 2018.
Yariv Levin, the country’s Minister of Tourism, said:. “In 2018, we have reached an amazing and historic record with over 4.12 million tourists arriving in Israel. We have broken incoming tourism records and this achievement is the direct result of intensive work that we are doing at the Tourism Ministry.
Change in strategy
“This achievement is a result of a revolutionary change in marketing strategy; infrastructure development; opening direct routes from new destinations and creating collaborations with some of the largest travel agents in the world. Incoming tourism makes a huge contribution to both Israel’s economy and its’ image.”
In 1978, Israel passed the one million tourists mark, 30 years after the establishment of the State. While it took 16 years to add the next one million tourists (in 1994) and 23 years to reach three million tourists (in 2017), it took just two years to reach four million.
Amir Halevi, director-general of the Tourism Ministry, said: “This is the second consecutive record-breaking year in incoming tourism to Israel and this year we have crossed the threshold of four million tourists in a year.
“This is the result of hard and strenuous work in recent years, as part of a revolution in the way that Israel is marketed around the world as a tourist destination.
“We are optimistic about 2019 that begins with the opening of the new international airport at Timna, that will enable us to continue bringing new flights to Eilat. What was considered a fantasy a few years ago is today a reality – Israel is a preferred tourist destination among tourism destinations around the world.”
The top six source countries to Israel for incoming tourism are the United States (897,100), France (346,000), Russia (316,000), Germany (262,500), UK (217,900) and Italy (150,600).
In 2018, leading international market research firm EuroMonitor named Jerusalem as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the world.