3.4 million tourists visited Israel over the period between January and October, which is a 15% increase in comparison with last year.
Tourism to Israel shows record levels
3.4 million tourists visited Israel between January and October 2018, which is 15% more than the same period last year. Cheap flights and the return of Chinese tourists are among the main drivers of the growth of Israeli tourism.
Europe leads the way as the first tourist provider
In Israel, the increase of foreign tourists and the prosperity of hoteliers depend on the perceived security level of the region. But despite chronic tensions, more than 485,000 tourists visited Israel in October, 14% more than the same month in 2017, contributing over NIS 2.5 billion (€ 600,000 million) to the Israeli economy.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, they stayed in the Hebrew State for an average of 8 days. On the January-October period, Israel welcomed 3.4 million tourists, and the Ministry is aiming to reach a total of 4 million by the end of the year. Europe leads the way as it provides a majority of tourist arrivals to Israel:
The number of tourists from Hungary rose 65%;
Tourism from Italy rose 50%;
Tourism from Germany grew by 20%.
Russia (43,300), France (41,200), Germany (38,000) and UK (26,200) were the major tourist providers in October 2018. 127,400 tourists visited Israel from North America, including 91,000 from the USA.
Chinese tourists return to Israel after months of decline
Tourism in Israel is at an all-time high, and part of the increase is coming from Chinese tourism which has more than doubled since 2015. In fact, 114 000 people from China travelled to Israel last year alone. “China’s outbound tourism is growing every year, and it’s a strategic market for Israel and for others”, says Sofia Prizant-Pinkas, Director of the Asian Department in the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
Israel is trying hard to woo these Asian travellers, offering everything from Chinese speaking tour guides to cuisine to please the Chinese palate. Tourists from China come to Israel primarily for 3 things:
To explore Tel Aviv’s thriving high-tech scene
To see landmarks like the Dead Sea
To visit holy sites in Jerusalem.
One the most popular sites for Chinese tourists to visit is the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is also Judaism’s holiest site. Despite the growth, the number of Chinese tourists in Israel dropped suddenly after the US announced in December the relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Chinese government then issued a travel warning. But since August, the numbers have picked up, something which tour operators attributed in part to new direct flights between the two countries.