Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
Photo: Gil Yohanan
"Eight years ago Jerusalem had just a little over two million tourists a year, and today we have four million a year. I want to reach 10 million,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told a special UJA-Federation of New York delegation during an event held in the Israeli capital last week.
“When we analyze where we were eight years ago, we can see that we have huge potential to fulfill the vision of reaching the scale of tourists seen by other cities. New York has 50 million tourists, Paris has over 60 million, and Jerusalem had a little over two million, far from where we should be,” said Barkat.
He added that "the more culture and business we create in the city, the more tourists we’ll bring.”
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Barkat also laid out to the participants some recent developments in Jerusalem, and mentioned that there had been a significant increase in cultural events, festivals, and new business.
"The recent Jerusalem Marathon had 20,000 runners, and in June for the first time ever, we will host the upcoming Formula 1 race,” he added excitedly.
Barkat met participants at an event marking the close of UJA-Federation of New York’s William Rosenwald Mission to celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday.
"In 2008, shortly after Nir Barkat became mayor of Jerusalem, he reached out to UJA-Federation of New York to be a partner to help him achieve his extraordinary vision for the city," said Jerry Levin, president of UJA-Federation.
"This evening, Mayor Barkat thanked UJA-federation for our partnership and hoped to continue working with us in the future."
As the special UJA-Federation of New York mission visited Israel last week during Independence Day celebrations, the mission also highlighted how UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies improve lives throughout Israel including at-risk children, Holocaust survivors, new immigrants and needy families.
The delegation was led by lay leaders Alisa and Dan Doctoroff, Carol and Jerry Levin, Marcia Riklis and Michael Kessler, Susan and Jeffrey Stern and Elizabeth and Michael Varet.