Incoming Tourism Sets Record in 2018 So Far

Ben Gurion, Terminal 1
A departure screen at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Flash90)

The BDS movement has not succeeded in putting a dent in tourism to Israel. A total of 1.85 million foreign residents entered Israel between January 1st and May 31st of this year, 1.75 million of them staying at least one night. That was 22 percent more than entered Israel during the first five months of 2017 – and constitutes the highest-ever rate of tourism to Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics said in its latest report.

Of those, 1.5 million tourists arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, while 63,000 entered Israel via Eilat – with that figure 74 percent higher than in the corresponding period in 2017. Also up were entries into Israel by land (26 percent higher in the period than a year earlier) and by ship (21 percent higher). On average between January and May, 345,000 foreign citizens each month entered Israel and stayed at least one night. During the same period in 2017, that figure was 341,000 a month.

The CBS also published figures about Israelis traveling abroad. During the January-May 2018 period, a total of 2.8 million exits were recorded at Ben Gurion Airport, 14 percent more than during the same period in 2017. In May alone, 556,000 Israelis went abroad, the figures showed.