Despite the grave global economic crisis and the problematic geopolitical situation in the region, Israel continues to break incoming tourism records.
A record number of 2.3 million visitors arrived between January-August 2012, a 7% increase as compared with last year and 5% more than the record year of 2010.
Of these entries, a record 1.9 million were tourists, a 4% increase compared with the same period in 2011 and a 7% increase as compared with 2010. 374,000 entries were day visitors, 26% more than the same period last year.
The month of August also registered its own records. Throughout last month, 298,000 visitors entered the country – a 10% increase as compared with August 2011 and 7% more than in August 2010.
Of these visitors, a record 248,000 were tourists, a 10% increase as compared with August 2011. 50,000 entries were day visitors, 10% more than in August 2011. Of these visitors, 12,000 arrived on cruise ships, 39% more than August 2011.
August 2012 registered 221,000 entries via air travel, a 9% increase compared with August 2011. 27,000 tourists entered by land crossings, a 20% increase as compared with last year. 21,000 entries came through the Jordanian border (a 29% increase as compared with August 2011) and 5,600 came through Taba to Eilat.
According to Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov, “The intensive work and focused and professional marketing is showing results in the field. Especially during times of economic crisis, tourism proves itself as a growth engine that creates employment for the middle and lower socio-economic classes and particularly in the periphery and injects billions of shekels annually into the economy.
"There is no economic justification for the cutbacks in the Tourism Ministry and these will adversely affect the amazing results and achievements that we have seen over the last three years.”