485,500 tourists visited Israel in October, 14% more than in October 2017. The Ministry of Tourism estimates that they contributed over NIS 2.5 billion to the Israeli economy. 3.4 million tourists visited Israel in January-October 2018, 15% more than in the corresponding period last year, and the Ministry of Tourism is aiming to increase this number to four million a year. The increase in tourism and the prosperity of hoteliers and the tourist industry also depends on the relative tranquility in the regional security situation. According to Ministry of Tourism figures, tourists stay in Israel for an average of eight days.
The number of tourists from Hungary rose 65%. Tourism from Italy rose 50%, and tourism from Poland, the Netherlands, and Romania was up 40%. The number of tourists from Germany rose 20%. No increase in the number of tourists from China was recorded, but the Ministry of Tourism hopes that with the addition of more airlines flying from China to Israel (Sichuan Airlines recently began operating flights to Israel), the increase in the number of destinations (by Hainan Airlines), and the removal of the travel warning about Israel published early this year by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of tourists from China will rise.
Cheap flights have a positive effect
300,000 of the tourists visiting Israel in October came from European countries: 43,300 from Russia (slightly less than in October 2017), 41,200 from France (10% more), 38,000 from Germany (14% more), and 26,200 from the UK (10% more).
The number of tourists from countries where airlines (mostly low-cost ones) began operating direct flights to Israel, such as Poland, increased accordingly. 15,700 tourists from Poland visited Israel, compared with 11,000 in October 2017, and 17,400 from Romania (12,300). 15,600 tourists from Italy visited Israel, 63% more than in October last year.
127,400 tourists visited Israel from North America in October, including 91,500 from the US, more than from any other country that month and 18% more than in October 2017. After receiving a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, South American airline LATAM will start operating direct flights Sao Paolo and Santiago to Israel next month, which will boost the number of tourists coming from South America. 20,100 tourists from Central and South America, including 8,100 from Brazil, visited Israel in October.
Fewer tourists from Asia
The number of tourists from Asia visiting Israel, on the other hand, is declining. Israel is making strenuous efforts to bring tourists from China, the world's fastest growing country, but only 11,000 tourists from China visited Israel in October, 17% fewer than in October 2017. 9,700 tourists from India visited Israel, 9% more than in October 2017. 19,000 came from Japan, even though there are not yet any direct flights between the two countries. 3,400 tourists came from Indonesia and 1,000 from Malaysia.
"Incoming tourism to Israel makes a huge economy contribution and no less a contribution to Israel's public relations. I am convinced that we will continue seeing a rising trend in the number of tourists visiting Israel and end the year with a new record," Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin said, adding that the excellent figures for October "have been continuing for two years, a direct result of the hard work we are doing in the Ministry of Tourism."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 6, 2018
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