Major increase in tourism to Israel in 2017
Israel enjoyed a huge tourism boom in 2017, with visitor numbers up by 25 per cent on the previous year.
According to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel welcomed 3,611,800 million tourist entries in 2017, up by a quarter on the previous year, and 29 per cent on 2015.
A total of 290,000 tourist entries were recorded in December 2017, which is around 17 per cent more than December 2016 and 47 per cent more than December 2015.
There were about 308,000 visitor entries in December (including day visitors).
The US remains the largest source country for incoming tourists, with 778,800 tourist entries in 2017, 20 per cent more than 2016.
The second largest source country is Russia (331,500), followed by France (308,600), Germany (218,100) and the UK (198,500).
The largest increase in incoming tourism in 2017 took place in the two countries where the tourism ministry made major marketing investments – Poland (up 89 per cent) and China (up 45 per cent).
There was also a 33 per cent increase in tourism from Germany, another country where the ministry concentrated significant marketing investment.
Amir Halevi, director general of the Israel ministry of tourism, said: “Having broken the all-time record in tourism as a result of innovative and creative marketing activities, we have begun to make changes in the organizational structure of the ministry, with the aim of adapting it to the new tourism market, with an emphasis on the digital space and developing niche tourism markets such as sport, culinary and more.
“We have also worked to improve the tourism infrastructure, with the guiding principle being first of all the maintenance and cleanliness of existing sites.
“We are working to diversify the accommodation options in Israel to suit the developing market trends, and thereafter increase incoming tourism.”
Halevi said the ministry was also working to recruit manpower for the industry, which currently employs more than 200,000 people.
“As a result of all these changes, we are optimistic about the growth in tourism and its consolidation as a significant contributory factor to the economy and the job market,” he added.