Cruise ship at Haifa Port (Archives)
A sharp spike registered in the number of tourists who entered Israel through the Haifa Port in October, reaching 40,000 visitors in just one month. In comparison, a total of 44,000 tourists entered through the port over the course of 2010.
From January to September, 94,332 tourists arrived at the port, marking a growth of 110% compared to the same period last year.
Some 30 ships arrived at the port in October, some of which docked there for several days. The data does not count the tourists who went on cruises operated by Mano Maritime, as Haifa is the company's home port.
Due to the rocket fire that targeted southern communities over the weekend, six passenger ships docked at the port simultaneously on Sunday, exceeding the amount of vessels the maritime gate is accustomed to receiving. Two of the ships extended their stopover while four others arrived early, all to avoid docking at the Ashdod Port.
The unexpected growth in the number of tourists stems in part from cruise ship operators' rush to avoid docking at Mediterranean nations that have been plagued by unrest over the past year, including Egypt and Tunisia.
Moreover, due to the fact that some of the ships docked in at the Haifa Port for over a day, the number of travelers taking day trips in the northern city went up as well.
The port's management has even asked the Haifa Municipality to make efforts to turn the city more tourist-friendly, a measure "that can help businesses in town and make Haifa more attractive to shipping companies that are contemplating whether to increase the frequency of their visits to Israel," port spokesman Zohar Rom said.
The seaport is expected to see bolstered activity in November and December as well; among others, the MSC Magnifica cruise ship, which carries 3,000 tourists and crew members, is expected to dock there several times.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop