Taglit-Birthright Israel today announced that, since it was founded in 2000, it has contributed more than NIS 2 billion to the Israeli economy through the provision of travel services, hotel overnights, food, training, security, visits to sites, flights, and so on.
7,100 Birthright groups have visited Israel. They have spent more than NIS 178 million at restaurants, NIS 93 million on travel, NIS 82 million to visit sites, and NIS 284 million on souvenirs. In 2011, 34,000 Jews visited Israel on Birthright programs, contributing 86,000 workdays and NIS 228 million to the Israeli economy.
Even in hard times, such as during the second intifada in 2000-03, the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, and Operation Cast Lead in early 2009, Birthright groups came to Israel, giving a shot in the arm to Israel's tourism industry.
Birthright CEO Gideon Mark said that, in addition to the program's achievements in supporting Israel, it was a critical factor for the tourism industry, providing thousands of jobs. "This isn't just a ten-day Bible tour," he said. "Many participants fall in love with Israel and return as regular tourists. They influence their families and communities to visit or vacation in Israel, creating an infrastructure for Jewish tourism in the coming years."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 26, 2012
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