Tourism in Israel is on the rise, and seems unaffected by the current wave of terror attacks, according to the Tourism Ministry’s briefing for industry professionals yesterday.
Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi said 225,000 tourist entries were recorded in September 2015 — 25 percent more than the same period in 2014 and an increase of 6% over September 2013.
Halevi noted that several international conventions that are taking place now in Israel, bringing in thousands of tourists. Among them are the International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem (October 12-16) , WATEC Water Technology & Environment Control Exhibition & Conference in Tel Aviv (October 13-15) and the IndNegev music festival in Mitzpeh Gevulot (October 15-17).
Chairman of the Tour Guides Association Benny Kfir noted that tour guides have not received any significant notification of cancellations for the coming month. He related that about 60 busloads of tourists who arrived on cruise ships traveled from Jerusalem to Masada this past weekend. Further cruise ships are expected in Israel next weekend.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin has instructed his staff to continue with current and planned marketing campaigns encouraging incoming tourism, including the launch of new campaigns in Italy, the United States and Brazil.
At the same time, the ministry’s professional staff will be available at all times for inquiries from tour operators and tourists regarding the security situation, and a Tourism Ministry representative has been appointed liaison for updates from relevant sources on the ground.
The Tourism Ministry hosts some 2,000 journalists, celebrities and opinion-formers every year from target source countries, and it was decided at the meeting to increase this number in the near future.
Also agreed upon was a plan to promote free walking tours in main tourism sites around the country in order to support local tourism businesses and provide the groundwork for “tourism as usual.”
Also present at the meeting were Hotels Association CEO Noaz Bar-Nir, Incoming Tour Operators Association CEO Yossi Fattal and Jerusalem Hotels Association Chairman Yishai Barnea.