Tourism to Israel shatters records in 2019

With an 11 percent increase in tourist entries in May 2019, Israel is on course to break the previous annual record set in 2018.

By Ebin Sandler, World Israel News Staff

In May 2019 alone, the Israel tourism industry generated revenues of 2.1 billion shekels, welcoming 440,000 visitors to the Jewish state.

These numbers reflect a multi-year spike in tourism to Israel, with visitors from the United States and Europe joined by a new crop of tourists from China.

“The May 2019 tourism statistics continue the consistent upward momentum and [the] record-breaking trend in incoming tourism to Israel,” commented Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin on Tuesday.

While Israel’s tourism industry is largely driven by the nation’s wide-range of historical attractions, Israel increasingly hosts high-profile events that attract additional visitors.

For example, Israel hosted the popular Eurovision Song Contest in May, which drew performers, fans, and media from around the world. Similarly, events like the Jerusalem Marathon have succeeded in bringing in new demographics to the Jewish state.

“As a continuation of the growth trend, we are developing [new] infrastructures,” explained Levin, adding, “I am pleased that the National Infrastructure Committee today approved the cable-car project in Jerusalem that will greatly enhance the tourist experience.”

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Levin’s mention of the cable car project was a reference to a $55 million initiative to build a gondola-like tram that will transport visitors to and from a popular Jerusalem dining and shopping complex built in a historic train station to the Old City, which is home to Judaism’s holiest sites.

While the project has met resistance on several fronts, the governmental approval on Tuesday cleared the way for the plan to proceed.