Tourism to Israel in November decreased from the previous year’s figures — not surprising, considering the rocket barrages from Gaza that terrorized much of the country — but it is up slightly for the year.
In figures released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, incoming tourism had been heading for a 12% rise in November, over the same month last year, before rocket fire intensified and Israel initiated Operation Pillar of Defense. That led to a dramatic drop in tourism in November of 43% from the figures from November of 2011.
The biggest decline in tourism, stemming from mass cancellations due to the fighting, came from Russia — a growing tourism market for Israel in the past few years, becoming the second-largest source country for incoming tourism. On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov was scheduled to fly to Moscow for a three-day visit in which he will meet with senior tour operators and journalists with the aim of rehabilitating tourism traffic from Russia.
So far in 2012, the number of tourists (visitors who stay more than one night) has reached 2.7 million, up 3% from the same period in 2011. There have also been more than 600,000 day visitors, up 22% from the same period last year.