My observation in the past couple of weeks of travels around Israel is that there has not been this many tourists since 2000. An Arutz-7 story suggests that this is more than a feeling.
The Ministry of Tourism reports that 290,000 tourists visited Israel in April 2008, an amount similar to that recorded in Israel’s record-breaking tourism year, 2000. The totals for this past April were 26% over April 2006, as well as 41% more than April 2007, when tourism was still negatively affected by the Second Lebanon War eight months earlier. During the first four months of 2008, 936,000 tourists arrived in Israel – an increase of 43% from the same period in 2007, and 34% more than the same period in 2006. The current pace of growth is consistent with Tourism Ministry goals to attract 2.8 million tourists to Israel this year. However, Tourism Ministry Director General Sha’ul Tzemach says that this blessing places in bold relief the increasing shortage of available guest rooms in Israel.
The story continues here. If you’re planning to bring a group, you would do best to get hotel reservations more than a year in advance.
3 thoughts on “Many Tourists in Israel”
One of the biggest increases is in Nigerian and other African tourists who come fully funded by their governments. Nigeria, in order to preserve the “Christian” character of the country against the growing Moslem minority, pays for its citizens to travel to Israel and gives them $1000 each in spending money.
Merchants across Israel now sell suitcases of all sizes for the travelers to purchase and take back home for resale to those subsidized pilgrims who will follow them.
As you are well aware, many Israelis have had to come to terms with the large number of Africans in the country. Prejudice, even in multi-culural Israeli, dies slowly and only under compulsion.
One of those tourists is going to be me for the first time since IBEX ’01! Dr. House is graciously letting me tag along on the summer tour he is leading.
Interesting about Nigeria.
A YEAR?!?!?!?!? Whoa!