Record number of tourists came to Israel over past year — ministry
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Record number of tourists came to Israel over past year — ministry

Arrivals in the country during past 12 months expected to hit 4.6 million, an 18% increase

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Tourists look at the view of the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount from the lookout of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, on October 11, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Tourists look at the view of the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount from the lookout of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, on October 11, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Tourist arrivals over the past 12 months were expected to reach 4.6 million by the end of the period next week, setting a new record, the Tourism Ministry said in a statement Thursday ahead of the Jewish New Year.

The figure is an 18% increase compared to the period between September 2017 and September 2018, when 3.9 million visited. It marked the third consecutive year that the bar has been raised.

Over the past week, an estimated 82,000 tourists arrived in Israel, and another 24,000 are expected to arrive ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins on Sunday night, the ministry said.

The past year saw NIS 22.4 billion ($6.36 billion) in tourism revenue, compared to NIS 19 billion ($5.4 billion) a year earlier.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin attends a conference in Kedem, in the West Bank, on September 5, 2019. (Hillel Maeir/Flash90)

“These impressive increases are a direct result of the strenuous work and revolutionary changes made by the Tourism Ministry, with an emphasis on expanding accommodation options in the country and reducing the cost of vacationing in Israel,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin in the statement.

Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism Amir Halevi said, “The momentum in the tourism industry creates opportunities and we are happy with the trend of increasing numbers of entrepreneurs who see tourism as an economic growth engine and invest in Israel.”

In December, the ministry said that tourism figures during 2018 reached over four million, also a record number, and a 13% increase over 2017.

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