A record number of people visited Israel for the period of January – May of 2012, the Tourism Ministry announced Sunday. Some 1.4 million visitors and tourists spent time in Israel, “6 percent more than the same period in 2011 and 4% more than 2010.” The ministry defines a tourist as a visitor spending “more than one night” in Israel.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said in a statement that the “consistent increase in incoming tourism and the new record highs prove that the investment in the industry contributes to increased income for the economy and creates tens of thousands of new jobs.” The ministry’s statement did not offer any statistical or other evidence for the minister’s assertion nor specify sources of investment.

Misezhnikov’s promoted continued investment in the industry, saying “Against the background of the ongoing global economic crisis, the importance of investment in engines for growth becomes sharper and tourism is a central player in maintaining the robust Israeli economy.”