Record Number of Tourists Visit Israel


ben-gurionAround 1.6 million tourists visited Israel between January and June of 2010, according to figures released today by the Israeli Tourist Ministry. This trumps the old record, which was set in 2008, and is an increase of 39% over the same period in 2009. Israel experienced 259,000 visitors in the month of June alone, which is an increase of 29% over June 2009, and eight per cent over June 2008.

The Ministry estimates that income generated from the tourism industry reached approximately $1.55 billion during the first half of the year.

According to Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, “The increase in incoming tourism during the first half of this year should not be taken for granted. It is the result of massive investment in marketing activities around the world with significant budgets, especially against the background of the public diplomacy challenges that Israel is facing.”

The $1.55 billion figure is 35% higher than the income brought in between January to June of 2009.

“It is necessary to increase the ministry’s budget in order to continue and increase its activities, because the lack of a serious budget will take us backward and adversely impact continued growth, revenue and employment,” said Meseznikov.

“Significant government investment in this industry will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs, most of them in the periphery, and revenue of hundreds of thousands of shekels for the economy.”

{Ynet/Yair Israel}