Pope Benedict to visit Israel in MayPope Benedict XVI is to visit Israel this May and work has already begun in preparation for a trip that is widely expected to significantly increase Christian and pilgrimage tourism to the country.
The Tourism Ministry plans to invest six million shekels in renovations and preparations at Christian sites in Israel, including Qasr el Yahud, the Good Samaritan site, the Cenacle (site of the Last Supper), and the Jesus Trail. Over the last decade, the ministry has invested tens of millions of shekels in developing sites including, the Mount of Olives Promenade, Via Dolorosa and Christian trails in Jerusalem, Nazareth and around the Sea of Galilee.
“The Pope’s visit to the Holy Land is an important and very significant visit that represents a strategic anchor for pilgrimage tourism to Israel in the coming years,” said Tourism Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila.
In 2008, three million tourists visited Israel, of which one million were pilgrims.