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Israel sees all-time record for November tourism

Minister cites marketing efforts in India and China, as figures show full recovery from terror wave slump

From celebrity endorsements to ad campaigns, Israel’s government is courting tourists from China and India. (Itamar Grinberg, Israeli Ministry of Tourism)
From celebrity endorsements to ad campaigns, Israel’s government is courting tourists from China and India. (Itamar Grinberg, Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

This year saw the highest-ever influx of tourists for the month of November, the Tourism Ministry announced on Thursday.

Authorities recorded 287,900 tourists entering Israel during the month, a 38 percent increase over last November, when the country was in the midst of a wave of terror attacks. The steep rise this year is more than just a recovery from the 2015 slump, as it also constituted a 12% increase over the previous all-time November high of 256,500, in 2013.

In a statement, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin attributed the increase to “our intensive marketing efforts in new countries such as China and India, as well as targeted [advertising] campaigns for the winter season.”

The ministry will continue the advertising campaigns with the stated goal of “a sustained growth in tourist travel,” he said.

File: Tourists ride Segways down the Tel Aviv promenade on February 21, 2012. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
File: Tourists ride Segways down the Tel Aviv promenade on February 21, 2012. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Tourism figures over the past decade show slumps in years of war and conflict, including 2006, 2009 and 2012, but complete and sometimes dramatic recoveries in their aftermaths, with a 52% jump in November 2007 compared to the same month a year earlier, a 19% jump from 2009 to 2010, and a 15% jump from November 2012 to November 2013.

Yariv Levin. (Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Yariv Levin. (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Conflict recoveries aside, last month’s figures mark a 31% rise over eight years from the November 2008 high of 219,400.

That steady increase “demonstrates the immense potential of the tourism sector,” Levin said.

According to the ministry, November’s influx alone brought an estimated NIS 1.5 billion ($400 million) into the Israeli economy.

Tourists walk past a metal detector in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on October 8, 2015 following a spate of knife attacks. (AFP Photo/Gali Tibon)
Tourists walk past a metal detector in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on October 8, 2015 following a spate of knife attacks. (AFP Photo/Gali Tibon)

The vast majority of November’s tourists, 88%, came by plane, in addition to 28,000 who came via Jordan and 6,000 from Egypt.

As of the end of November, some 2,651,400 tourists have visited the country in 2016.

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