Tourism to Israel has never been more popular. Despite the Arab Spring, Syria and all the media speculation regarding Iran, people are readily traveling to Israel on Holy Land Tours.
During the first three months of the year, 752,000 tourists came to Israel, representing an all-time high for the first quarter, representing a 1% increase over the previous all-time first quarter high, hit in 2010.
Day tourists were up over 78%, to 41,000 visitors. The large increase is widely attributed to the turmoil in Egypt that occurred during the Spring of 2011 and which prompted a significant decline in day tourism.
Tourism is an extremely large contributor to Israel's economy. Israel’s 3.4 million tourists in 2011 generated total revenues estimated at $47 billion during that year.
Israel's Ministry of Tourism over the last couple years has taken many steps to improve the tourism product and outreach to major markets overseas, but most significantly the Christian tourism market. of all the 3.4 million tourists to Israel in 2011, over 66% of them were Christian.
Keenly aware of the potential of this market, the ministry has embarked on a number of new initiatives in the last few months created to hopefully attract ever more tourists to Israel.
Major initiatives include the newly developed Gospel Trail, a 62km trail from Nazareth to Capernaum, a new “Spriit of the Holy Land” YouTube channel featuring videos on Israel, a dedicated Catholic pilgrimage site, and a new initiative designed to reach Evangelical Christians in North America, called the Pastor's Alliance. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism is launching a new Bar Mitzvah campaign and will be revamping their bar mitzvah site.
The Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov: “The Tourism Ministry's efforts to improve the tourism product and its diverse marketing activities worldwide continue to bear fruit as the numbers speak for themselves”.
By Elisa Moed for www.Travelujah.com
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