According to an initial summarization made by the Parks and Nature Authority, some 400,000 travelers visited the Authority's sites during Sukkot and the mid-holidays. Based on estimations, an additional million travelers visited the free admittance nature reserves and national parks.
Visitors at the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve (Photo: Rinat Russo)
The data includes repeat visits and multi-day trips considered as separate visits. Uzi Barzily, the authority's marketing director attributed the high turnout to last week's good weather, which compelled more people attend festivals and various holiday events. "The week of Sukkot is always a busy time for supervisors and park employees," Says Barzilay, adding that "except for the vandalizing of Avdat National Park, no irregular events were reported."
Horse show in Caesarea's ancient Hippodrome
Among the most popular sites during Sukkot was Caesarea National Park, which drew more than 25,000 visitors, most of them coming to see the traditional horse show in the ancient Hippodrome. Masada National Park, Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve and Tel Dan Nature Reserve drew more than 20,000 visitors while other popular destinations included Yehi'am Fortress National Park, where the renaissance festival was held, and Apollonia National Park which hosted the annual kite festival.
Herodium and Qumran National Parks visitors enjoyed dramatized tours and encounters with historic figures, while Hula Nature Reserve hosted thousands of pelicans who stopped by for a snack, as part of a joint feeding program initiated by the Nature and Parks Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to Jewish National Fund, some 1.5 million travelers visited their forests and parks nation-wide. Many of the travelers chose to camp over-night in trailer parks, while others brought picnic baskets and bicycles.