The number of incoming tourists in 2017 is expected to be about 3.6 million, an increase of 25% over 2016, according to a press release issued Tuesday by Israel’s Tourism Ministry.
In the period January-November 2017, about 3.3 million tourist entries were recorded, an increase of 25.3% over the same period in 2016 (2.6 million), and 28% over 2015. Of the 3.3 million, more than 2.9 million tourist entries were by air, an increase of 22% over 2016. 373,000 tourists arrived via the land crossings, a 50% increase over 2016.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said in a statement: “The all-time record number of tourists visiting Israel this year is no accident; it is the result of a clear policy. The actions taken by my ministry since I took up my position have brought Israel an unprecedented record in incoming tourism. The number of tourists visiting Israel increased by 700,000, setting a new record for incoming tourism to Israel and adding $5.8 billion to the economy.”
Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi, said in a statement: “We are working to diversify the accommodation options in Israel to suit the developing market trends, and thereafter increase incoming tourism. We are 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.”
In the first half of 2017 there was an 11% increase in bed nights in Israeli hotels over the same period last year. There was an increase in the number of weekly flights into Eilat—the result of subsidies paid out by the Tourism Ministry, and more than 50 weekly flights into Ovda Airport, some 37 miles north of Eilat—Israel’s second international airport.
18 routes opened from new destination into Ben Gurion Airport, with financial support from Tourism Ministry. The new carriers include Hainan Airlines, Lot, Ryanair, Wizz Air, and WOW.
A new route opened from Shanghai, with a 46% increase in tourism from China over 2016 (and 139% over 2015).
According to the Tourism Ministry, 91% of tourists ranked their visit to Israel as very good or excellent.