As much predicted, the year 2012 was a record breaker for tourism to Israel! And that comes despite Operation Pillar of Defense that happened during November, which was feared would put a real dampener on the end of year numbers.
All in all the final total to Israel is some 3.5 million tourists in 2012, which is up some 4% on last year. The previous record year was in 2010, when some 3.45 million tourists entered Israel. And just so you know, those ever-growing numbers are hugely important to the economy in Israel, as they generated some 36 billion shekels in revenue!
Some interesting facts you probably weren’t aware of:
The volume of tourism from Russia is now almost equal to that of the USA (the number of Russian tourists increased by some 20% this year to 590,000, while the number of American tourists actually dropped some 4% to 610,000).
58% of tourists were Christian, 23% Jewish.
Out of 3.5 million visitors, 2.5 million arrived by air (70%), up 1% on 2011. About 406,000 came through the land borders (12%), an increase of 6% compared to 2011. 625,000 entries (18%) were one-day visitors, an increase of 15%: of these 235,000 came on cruise ships, a similar number to 2011.
After the US and Russia, the following countries also sent over a respectable number of tourists: in 3rd spot France (261,000), in 4th Britain (165,000), in 5th Germany (159,000), in 6th Italy (128,000), in 7th Ukraine (110,000), in 8th Canada (65,000), in 9th Poland (60,000), and in 10th spot Spain (51,000).
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov was a happy camper as usual, and had this to say:
These achievements are a reflection of the intensive and professional work of the past three years, when tourism has become a main engine for growth in the economy with a rise in revenues and the creation of new jobs.
Stas politely declined to mention the impact our website igoogledisrael.com has had on those numbers, but we like to think we’ve done our bit too. *smile*