Thirty-seven cruise ships, carrying some 50,000 passengers and crewmembers, are expected to dock at the Ashdod and Haifa ports in June, according to figures released by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority, which is preparing to welcome the tourists at the passport control.
Cruise ships arriving in Israel dock at the Ashdod and Haifa ports for one to three days, and each tourist arriving on these vessels spends an average of $150 a day on visits to tourist attractions and shopping in Israel.
Some 170,000 tourists visited Israel in 2010 on cruise ships, 25 times more than in 2009, while 68,000 passengers arrived on cruise ships in the first four months of the year.
According to Tourism Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar-Nir, "The cruise organizers' decision to dock in Israel is a show of faith in Israel as a safe and attractive country."
Bar-Nir noted, however, that if the State of Israel wished to increase its cruise ship tourism, it should reduce the taxes and fees imposed on the ships at its ports, which are currently the most expensive in Europe.
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