The city of Tel Aviv, well-known for its restaurants, nightclubs, and other such attractions which make it “the city that never sleeps,” has ranked fifth on the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index’s top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa.
Tel Aviv ranked below Dubai, which maintains its number one position, Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg. Casablanca, Morocco, a city well-known for its tourism industry, came in sixth, below Tel Aviv.
According to the index, 2.5 million international visitors will visit Tel Aviv in 2012, a decline for the city which ranked third on the list for 2011.
Cairo’s second place rank suggests that Egypt’s tourism industry has recovered following the turmoil in the country last year. The index notes that the city has experienced an 8.3 percent growth in tourism in 2012.
Tel Aviv can also be a tourist attraction from a Jewish point of view, particularly due to its approximately 500 synagogues, 350 of which are still active and which hold daily prayer services.
Last year, the New York-based magazine Travel + Leisure placed Jerusalem in second place and Tel Aviv in third place in its list of best cities in the Middle East and Africa.
One of the newer tourist attractions in Tel Aviv is the King David Private Museum and Research Center, which opened several months ago and contains archeological exhibits from First and Second Temple times and includes artifacts of special significance in the story of King David.
Museum curator Yisrael Cohen recently told Arutz Sheva that the museum is unique in Tel Aviv, because it provides an inside look into history and archaeology, things which are not normally available in museums in Tel Aviv.
“It gives an opportunity to people in Tel Aviv to be exposed to things right in their backyard,” said Cohen, adding that many tourists are also attracted to the museum.