Ben Gurion Airport
Ben Gurion AirportPhoto by Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90

Just over four months since coronavirus restrictions limiting entry into Israel were lifted on March 1, the one millionth tourist in 2022 today arrived in Israel.

The tourist, who was welcomed by Tourism Minister and Tourism Ministry representatives, is Belinda Desoyo Lee Marcelo, 53, a resident of the United Emirates.

The tourism industry was badly affected by the pandemic but the current recovery in incoming tourism is now exceeding forecasts. The number of incoming tourists is increasing, and with it, income from tourism into the Israeli economy. According to the statistics just released, incoming tourism reached 244,500 tourist entries in June 2022, just 33% less than the record set in June 2019.

Based on the recovery trend in incoming tourism, it is expected that up to 2 million tourists will arrive in Israel by the end of 2022.

Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov welcomed the millionth tourist on arrival at Ben Gurion airport: "At first, we thought and hoped that the President of the United States Joe Biden would be the millionth tourist to arrive in Israel in 2022, but once again, we have beaten the forecast. Here we are, welcoming the millionth tourist to enter Israel this year."

"Last year, our skies were closed, there were corona restrictions in place with new variants emerging, and serious concerns about incoming tourism . Despite the situation, we did not give up, at any stage. We worked hard to open up the industry and we brought the tourism industry back to life in spite of the challenges. To my joy, in contrast to all the pessimistic forecasts, we can see today that tourism has returned to Israel. A million tourists inject money into the Israeli economy, create job opportunities throughout the country and provide a livelihood for whole families. Now we look forward to the objective I have set for the industry: 10 million tourists in 2030."