A drop of 5% was recorded between January and November in Israelis' departures abroad, compared to the same period last year – 3.8 million departures in 2009 compared to 4 million departures in 2008.
Comparing the first half of the year – January to June – to the same period last year points to a sharper decline of 13% in the number of departures, apparently due to the Israeli operation in Gaza in the first half of January and the global financial crisis.
An analysis of the seasonality-deducted data shows that an average of 288,000 Israelis flew abroad between September and November 2009 (about 3.5 million on an annual level), as in the three months between June and August 2009, which recorded an average of 290,00 departures by air (about 3.5 million on an average level).
Slight recovery since mid 2009
Naturally, tourists' entries to Israel were also affected by Operation Cast Lead and the financial crisis. The number of entries recorded a sharp drop of 25% between January and February 2009, an 18% drop between March and June and a mere 2% drop between July and November.
Some 1.8 tourist entries were conducted by air – an 8% drop compared to the same period last year. This is a more moderate drop from the drop of all visitors. Some 326,000 entries were recorded by land – a 25% drop. Only several entries were recorded via sea.
Day visitors – in 2007 and 2008, following reliefs in the approval of special visas for day visits (via air and land) for organized groups from Eastern Europe, the number of day visits including cruise passengers reached an average of 42,000 entries a month in 2008.
In the first half of 2009, the number of day visitors dropped following Operation Cast Lead, while from July there has been a recovery in the entry of day visitors, and their number reached a new record – an average of 50,000 entries a month.
The first 11 months of the year recorded 386,000 entries for day visits – 67,000 of them entries of people travelling on cruises. November recorded 251,000 tourist entries – 206,000 of tourists and 44,000 of day visitors – 9,000 of them traveling on cruises.
Out of the tourist entries, 164,000 flew in – 158,000 through Ben-Gurion Airport and 6,000 on direct flights to Eilat.
A seasonality-deducted analysis of the data reveals that a monthly average of 181,000 entries was recorded between September and November 2009 (2.2 million on an average level), compared to a monthly average of 162,000 tourist entries (1.9 million on an annual level) in the three previous months, June to August 2009.