January Tourism Up 27 Percent Over a Year Earlier

Bird’s-eye view of the Yerushalayim cityscape with the Olive Tree Hotel on the bottom right corner, the Leonardo Plaza and the Crown Plaza Hotels between the two. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Tourism in Israel was up 27 percent in January 2017 over the same month a year earlier, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced. In January, 222,000 people entered Israel, of which 210,000 were on tourist visas. Of these visas, 188,000 were issued to people who arrived in Israel by air, while 22,000 came via land entry points, the CBS numbers showed.

Many of those who entered by land were part of tour groups that entered Israel from Jordan, an excursion that is becoming popular among Europeans. Entries via land points were up 107 percent in January 2017 over the previous year. Also growing were air entries via direct flights to Eilat, which were up 35 percent.

The biggest supplier of tourists was the United States, with 51,700 tourist entries recorded — 16 percent more than in January 2016 — during the month. In second place was Russia, which supplied 20,300 tourists in January, an increase of 26 percent over a year earlier. France’s tourists numbered 12,700, while China supplied 9,800 — a jump of 196 percent over the number in January 2016.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said that “for several months we have seen new records set in the number of tourist entries into Israel. This is not a coincidence, but the result of a planned policy, the fruit of the hard work we are putting into branding Israel, and these efforts are proving themselves. I am convinced that we will see even further growth in the future.”