According to figures released Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, some 182,000 people visited Israel in August, 164,000 of them tourists – a 36% drop from August 2013 in the number of tourists entering the country.
The industry can take comfort, however, in the overall figures since the beginning of 2014: More than two million tourists entered the country in the first eight months of the year, a 7% increase from 2013, a 6% increase from 2012 and a 10% increase from 2011.
Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevy says the ministry is already operating its policies for the "day after" with the objective of shortening the recovery time from Operation Protective Edge and is renewing its campaigns, in the first phase in Russia and Germany and globally via a campaign on Eurosport TV.
The ministry is currently running a conference in which all the IGTO directors are discussing marketing strategies to bring back incoming tourism. These steps include focused marketing by city, tourist site and target markets (Christian denominations, niche markets, FITs, City Breaks etc).
"The tremendous blow to tourism suffered by the Israeli economy in all areas of Israel as a result of canceled visits is a factor in the economic slowdown, as shown by Bank of Israel discussions taking place now," Halevy noted.
"The Tourism Ministry is convening this week all the Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) directors from around the world to formulate a plan for attracting tourists back to Israel, who provide jobs to 200,000 people in the country.
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau said, "The figures prove that the format for compensation we submitted to the government beyond the 40 kilometer radius is what is needed. We are investing in marketing in order to increase the numbers of incoming tourists."