Lions Gate, Jerusalem
Lions Gate, JerusalemIsrael News Photo: (file)

An annual poll by the Travel and Leisure Magazine has named Jerusalem its 17th top city for tourists throughout the world – ahead of Los Angeles, Paris, and more.

In its 14th annual survey of the best cities around the world to visit, the magazine ranked Jerusalem number 17, ahead of London and most American cities. In the United States, only New York and San Francisco place ahead of Judaism’s holiest city.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat released a statement Wednesday thanking Travel and Leisure for its contest. He noted that the award comes in recognition of the tremendous efforts that his office and Israel’s Ministry of Tourism are making on behalf of Jerusalem’s tourism infrastructures and marketing efforts.

"Jerusalem is a special place to more than 3.4 billion people of faith from around the world,” Barak said, “and my vision is to open up Jerusalem for everyone to enjoy.” He said his goal is to increase tourists to the city fivefold, from this year’s number of two million to 10 million each year.

In first place on the list was the relatively unfamiliar city of Udaipur, India. This year’s survey marked the first time that results were included from readers in South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, Australia and New Zealand, Turkey and Mexico.

Behind Udaipur on the list are Capetown, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Chiang Mai (Thailand),  Florence (Italy), Luang Prabang (Laos), New York, Rome and San Francisco.