2013 new all-time high for tourism to Israel


More than 3.5 million visitors from around the world arrived in Israel in 2013, a new all-time high in travel to Israel, says Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America.

The US is the number one source of tourism to Israel (20% of tourists to Israel come from North America), followed by Russia, France, Germany and the U.K. Tourists from Canada continue to meet or exceed targeted projections with record breaking months throughout 2013.

“It is an unheard of phenomenon that any country’s largest and highest-spending source of tourism comes from 6,000 plus miles away,” observed Gutin, “which underscores the importance of the work we do in North America.”

The month of December 2013 also set a new record high, with the arrival of 24% more tourists (visitors who stayed more than one night) than in 2012. Cruise travel to Israel also increased in 2013 with the arrival of a record 257,000 cruise visitors.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism estimates that 53% of all incoming travellers identify as “Christian” and 28% as “Jewish.” The Ministry also estimates that the sites most visited by tourists to Israel are Jerusalem’s Western Wall (68%) and Jewish Quarter (64%), the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (57%), the Via Dolorosa (55%) and the Mount of Olives (53%).