According to a new report by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel has seen its best six months in the history of the country’s tourism. Over 1.74 million tourists entered Israel in the first six months of 2017 – a rise of 26% compared to the same period in 2016.
A big increase came from Chinese tourists, a small segment of the industry but one Israel has been determined to see grow. In the first half of 2017, Chinese arrivals grew by 75%, to 60,900.
The number of Russian tourists increased by 30%, while the number of travellers from the United States – Israel’s largest tourism source – rose by 20%, the data said.
Growth from France and Britain was smaller at 9% (140,900) and 11% (95,600), respectively.
During the month of June 2017, 303,000 tourists entered Israel, representing a 28.4% rise from the previous year.
Of June’s tourist entries, 275,000 were via air travel, representing an increase of 26% from June 2016 and 27% from June 2015. 28,600 tourist entries were recorded via Israel’s land crossings: 24,000 via Jordan, and 4,500 via Egypt.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said: “The June tourism statistics bring us to record levels for incoming tourism in the first six months of the year… Our policy continues to prove itself and to bear fruit and we can see that the right marketing strategy can bring Israel to new heights”.
He added: “We are implementing marketing activities and innovative processes to brand Israel and to bring new airlines and new routes into Israel and all this activity proves itself, month after month … The significant increase in incoming tourism numbers makes an exceptional contribution to the Israeli economy and workforce”.