More than a million tourists came to Israel in the first quarter of this year, despite the tension generated in the region by the “Arab Spring.”
According to the Tourism Ministry, a total of 1,040,000 visitors arrived in Israel from January to March, including day visitors and cruise passengers – 2% fewer than in the same period last year.
During April 300,000 visitors arrived in the country – 6% fewer than last April – including 260,000 tourists.
Central Bureau of Statistics figures indicate that 226,000 of the tourists arrived by air – a 6% increase over 2010. Of these, 11,000 were tourists arriving on direct flights to Eilat and Ovda for vacations – a whopping 77% increase over April 2010. In addition, 38,000 were day visitors, including 20,000 who arrived on cruise ships – also double the number for April 2010.
“The Tourism Ministry must contend with the geopolitical situation in the region that is influencing incoming tourism into Israel as well,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “In recent weeks, the ministry initiated several marketing activities to increase demand for tourism to Israel and will continue with these activities over the coming months."
“Marketing activities have succeeded in increasing the number of incoming tourists who stay more than one night in Israel," Mishezhnikov said "and as a result, tourism's percentage of the GDP has grown – revenue from tourism in the period January through April has grown to $940 million, 3% more than the same period last year.”