Despite a major defensive military operation, 2012 saw more incoming tourists than any other year in Israeli history, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday.
The number of visitors in December – the month after which Operation Pillar of Defense took place – saw 9% less visitors than during the same period in 2011, but overall, 5% more visitors landed in the Holy Land in 2012 than in the previous year.
The highest percentage of visitors came from the United States, followed by Russia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
An estimated 3.5 million visitors came to Israel in 2012 – 2.5 million by air and approximately 404,000 by land borders. Another 251,000 came on cruise ships.
According to Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, “for every 36 tourists, one job is created and this year’s increase in incoming tourism added thousands of new jobs to the workplace.”