Israel has set an all-time record for tourist arrivals with 3.6 million people visiting in 2017 – up 25% over 2016.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the final tourism statistics for 2017 are as follows: 3,611,800 million tourist entries were recorded, 25% increase on 2016 and 29% on 2015; 290,000 tourist entries were recorded in December 2017, about 17% more than December 2016 and 47% more than December 2015.
The United States remains the largest source country for incoming tourists, with 778,800 tourist entries in 2017, 20% more than 2016. The second largest source country is Russia (331,500), France (308,600), Germany (218,100) and the UK (198,500). The numbers from Canada exceeded 80,000, up about 25% from 2016.
The largest increase took place in the two countries where the Tourism Ministry invested considerably in marketing – Poland (89% increase) and China (45%). There was also a 33% increase in tourism from Germany, another country where the ministry has concentrated significant marketing investment.
Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi, commented, “Having broken the all-time record in tourism as a result of innovative and creative marketing activities, we have begun to make changes in the organizational structure of the ministry, with the aim of adapting it to the new tourism market, with an emphasis on the digital space and developing niche tourism markets such as sport, culinary and more. We have also worked to improve the tourism infrastructure, with the guiding principle being first of all the maintenance and cleanliness of existing sites.
“We are working to diversify the accommodation options in Israel to suit the developing market trends, and thereafter increase incoming tourism. We are also working to recruit manpower for the industry, which currently employs more than 200,000 people. As a result of all these changes, we are optimistic about the growth in tourism and its consolidation as a significant contributory factor to the economy and the job market.”