Published on : Thursday, December 28, 2017
The largest number of tourists to Israel came from the US, with over 700,000 tourists reflecting 21% more than in 2016.
307,000 tourists came from Russia with 26% increase this was due to the growth in routes and flights from Russia to Israel mostly low-cost airlines, and the exclusion of Turkey from the Russian tourist map.
France ranked third with 284,000 tourists, 8% more than in 2016, followed by Germany in fourth place with 202,000 tourists, showing a 34% rise over 2016.
UK brought in 185,000 tourists to Israel, 10% more than in 2016.
Other places of incoming tourism included Ukraine with 137,000 tourists, China with 105,000 ,Italy (93,000), Poland (85,000), and Canada (75,000).
It was reported that 59% of the tourists who visited Israel this year came for the first time. 25% visited for religious purpose, 23% for touring and hiking, and 10% for entertainment.
24% visited to see relatives and friends, and 11% for business while 30% of the tourists came on organized trips and 64% independently and 6% opted for tourist packages.
The Ministry of Tourism marketed other aspects of Israel, such as night life, culinary aspects, and sports not confining to the pilgrimage market.
The marketing measures saw special treatment for the three millionth tourist. The lifeguard shed in Tel Aviv that became a boutique hotel there was social networks campaign in China that hosted 3,000 opinion-makers from all over the world.
Grants were issued by the Ministry of Tourism and incentives allotted to airlines that introduced routes to new destinations having incoming tourism potential. €250,000 grants was allotted to the direct weekly routes landing at Ben Gurion Airport from a destination which earlier had no flights to Israel.
The number of hotel jobs was 8.3% more than in 2016, due to the regulations governing the employment of foreign workers, most hotels said they had a shortage of staff.
The first half of 2017 showed spending per tourist was $1,600 and $162 per day and 78% of incoming tourists visited Jerusalem, followed by Tel Aviv-Jaffa (67%), Dead Sea (49%), Tiberias and the Galilee region (35%).
Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin said that the all-time record number of tourist visits was due to a clear policy.