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February Sees All-Time Record for Tourism to Israel

Record-breaking 2013 provides momentum for tourism in 2014, with two records broken in February alone.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 3/10/2014, 3:04 PM

Foreign tourists take in Jerusalem's Old City
Foreign tourists take in Jerusalem's Old City
Flash 90

If new statistics released today are anything to go by, 2014 looks set to be another record-breaking year for the Israeli tourism industry.

2013 was a record year, with a 3% increase in both international and domestic tourism alike compared to 2012. 

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the upward trend looks set to continue into this year, with the first records broken just last month.

In all, February saw an increase of 5% in the number of visitor entries into the country, with a record 224,000 arriving in the country, compared to February 2013. Of those arrivals, 221,500 were in Israel as tourists - another new record, and an increase of 23% from last year. 

Similarly, the first two months of the year combined also saw a 5% overall rise in arrivals to the Jewish state, with 473,000 people arriving from abroad.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau hailed the "record-breaking" figures, and said the government was working to carry the momentum into the rest of the year.

"We are working intensively to improve the quality of the tourism product, to effectively market Israel around the world and to strengthen domestic tourism so that 2014 will also close as a record year for tourism," he said.

Other impressive figures include a staggering 45% increase in direct flights to the southern resort city of Eilat and a 34% increase in tourists entering via Israel's land crossings with Egypt and Jordan.