2017 was a record year for tourism to the Holy Land, with about 3.6 million tourists and NIS 20 billion in revenues from tourism alone.
By: World Israel News Staff
If it seems that there are more tourists enjoying Israeli historical sites such as the Western Wall and Masada, it’s not an illusion. 2017 was a record year for incoming tourism in Israel, which resulted in NIS 20 billion in revenue for the Jewish state’s economy.
The number of incoming tourists in 2017 was about 3.6 million, an increase of 25 percent over 2016.
The increase is partially the result of 18 new routes that opened from destinations around the globe into Ben Gurion Airport, including Hainan Airlines from China, Lot of Poland, Ryanair, Wizz Air and WOW.
A new route opened from Shanghai, as tourism from China saw a 46 percent increase over last year, and a whopping 139 percent spike since 2015.
The leading source countries for incoming tourism were the US, then Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The most visited sites in Israel over the past year were Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Tiberias, and the Sea of Galilee area.
A little over half of the tourists, 54 percent, were Christian, with 25 percent of them visiting as pilgrims. Another 22 percent were Jewish, and the rest came from other religions or were not affiliated.
For 41 percent of tourists, their visit in 2017 was not their first to Israel.
The vast majority of tourists enjoyed their visit to the Holy Land, with 91 percent rating their visit to Israel as very good or excellent.
Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin stated that the all-time record number of visitors was “no accident; it is the result of a clear policy.”
“The additional half million tourists who came to Israel this year are half a million more ambassadors of Israel around the world and our loyal representatives on social media, and this is also a decisive contribution to Israel’s image,” Levin emphasized.
Levin said he is convinced that if his policy of development is implemented, “We will see very satisfactory results in the next year.”