In the first half of 2010, a record-breaking 1.6 million tourists visited Israel. This is 39 percent more than in the same period last year and 10% more than in 2008, which held the previous record.
According to Tourism Ministry estimates, incoming tourism (excluding air travel) brought in about $1.55 billion in the first half of 2010.
The ministry’s website has also registered an impressive increase in the number of visits from “virtual tourists.” In the first half of 2010, more than 2.7 users from over 220 countries visited the website, which is translated into 16 languages. The hits came mostly from the US, Russia, Germany, Italy, France and the UK.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov noted that, “The increase in incoming tourism during the first half of this year… is the result of massive investment in marketing activities around the world with significant budgets, especially against the background of the public diplomacy challenges that Israel is facing.”
According to ministry figures, for every 100,000 additional tourists, about 4,000 new jobs are created and 450 million shekels are generated. There are about 90,000 people directly employed in the tourism industry.