The Swedish media may not be too fond of Israel, but Tourism Ministry data from August shows that the Swedish people may have a different opinion of the Jewish state, as the ministry reported a 24% rise in the number of Swedish tourists entering Israel last month – 970 tourists compared to 783 in August, 2008.
Some 34,000 Russian tourists entered Israel in August, a 35% rise compared to the same period last year. The ministry's figures show that overall, there was a 3% drop in the number of tourists entering Israel in August.
Close to 47,000 American tourists entered Israel last month – a 5% rise compared to August 2008, and some 19,000 English tourists visited the Jewish state in the same month, also marking a 5% rise.
Other countries to see an increase in visits to Israel include Canada, with a 3% rise, Australia, up 10%, Chile, with a 6% increase, Finland, 5% and Norway, with a 4% increase in the number of visitors to the Jewish state.
A significant 259% rise was felt in the number of tourists coming in from Nigeria, as a number of groups of pilgrims flocked to the Holy Land in August. Another prominent increase came from Egypt, with a 30% rise in tourists in August. The numberTurkish visitors to Israel rose 8% last month, compared to the same period last year.
In total, the entrance of 252,028 tourists to Israel was recorded – a 3% drop compared to last August. From the start of 2009, 1,667,055 tourists entered Israel – a 16% drop compared to the January – August period of 2008.
The drop is attributed to the sharp decline in incoming tourism during the peak of the global economic crisis, as well as Operation Cast Lead in Gaza at the start of the year.