Story-ideas-1011172

1st-half growth dulls Gaza effect on tourism

  • Israel Tourism logo
Protective Edge’s negative impact, including collapse of booming cruise ship business, pulled total down 7%. But significant 1st-half growth & 3% more domestic tourism kept bed-nights down just 1%. Most visitors from US, Russia, France & Germany; 56% were Christian. Tourism contributes R120-bil to economy & employs 6% of workforce. 2015 bookings are again high & could break 2013 record of 3,5m visitors. What are most popular places & sites to visit? Read the official info here…
by ANT KATZ | Jan 05, 2015

Israel had hoped to grow tourism significantly in 2014 after a record growth spurt in 2013 saw it top the 3,5 million visitors mark for the first time. But the quality of the experience, with satisfaction levels ranging from very good to excellent (4,3 out of 5) – added to a strong (record-breaking) first half-year for the industry, ensured that they only dropped slightly year-on-year.

Israel Tourism logoOne of Israel’s huge selling points is that their services receive the highest satisfaction ratings. Archaeological sites average 4,5 out of 5; guided tours and tour guides 4,4; and personal safety 4,3 – among the highest in the world.

200 000 Israeli citizens are employed in the tourism industry which represents about 6 per cent of the total workforce. The 22 million bed-nights spent in Israeli hotels in 2014 was just one per cent less than in 2013 – while domestic tourism was three per cent higher. The big blow to the country came from their booming attraction to cruise ships – which was substantially up during the first half year but ended the year seven per cent down on 2013.



RELATED READS OF JR ONLINE

02 September 2014: TOURISM IS BOOMING - IN AND OUT OF ISRAEL - 2013 was record year breaking the 3,5 mil visitors’ barrier for the first time. Where do most of Israel’s tourists come from? What are the most popularly visited cities and sights? How has it become the tiny Jewel of the Mediterranean? How many people does the sector employ? What are the predictions going forward? By ANT KATZ

29 May 2014: DIRCO POSITIVE ON SA/ISRAEL TRADE & TOURISM RELATIONS - Israel is one of SA’s top three trading partners and #1 in tourism from the M-East. SA “hoped that this area of co-operation will continue to expand in the years to come,” said DIRCO’s chief director, Mideast this week. Read Themba Rubushe full speech and see more pics. By ANT KATZ



Tourism Minister Dr Uzi Landau said this week: “This year, which started with a steep increase in the number of tourists, posed difficult challenges to us. Despite Operation Protective Edge, we succeeded in maintaining the same number of tourists and hotel overnights, thanks to focused overseas marketing, and mainly as a result of the (domestic) Israeli response to the "Vacation in Israel Now" campaign,” he said.

Israel tourism - Nazereth“While (Protective Edge) was still taking place, Israeli vacationers filled the hotels in the peak season of August, thereby supporting businesses in outlying areas and the Israeli economy.



LEFT: Walking in the steps of Christ



"At the same time, we managed to bring down the cost of vacationing in Israel by increasing supply and incentivising the construction of budget accommodation and camping options, as well as commencing the hotel ratings procedure," said the minister.

"We have ensured that local authorities maintain a high level of maintenance of existing tourism infrastructure as a condition for ongoing construction and development," said Landau.

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While admitting that "Operation Protective Edge halted our momentum,” Ministry of Tourism Director General Amir Halevi said that Israel “can already see the light at the end of the tunnel, with recovery in the first half of 2015. The NIS500 million assistance package assembled by the ministry for tourism businesses bolstered the industry, and restored our status as a growth engine that streaming tens of billions of shekels into the economy.
"This year, we put our emphasis on digital marketing aimed at independent travellers (FITs), who are keen to exploit the prices from the open skies policy and are ready to enjoy the city breaks we have on offer - to run marathons in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Galilee, to cycle in the Negev, to enjoy opera at Masada and in Akko and to have fun in Tel Aviv. We have invested in hosting thousands of opinion-formers from overseas who have become tourism ambassadors, spreading the word throughout the world of how good it is to visit Israel."

Related reads on Jewish Report Online

02 September 2014: TOURISM IS BOOMING - IN AND OUT OF ISRAEL - 2013 was record year breaking the 3,5 mil visitors’ barrier for the first time. Where do most of Israel’s tourists come from? What are the most popularly visited cities and sights? How has it become the tiny Jewel of the Mediterranean? How many people does the sector employ? What are the predictions going forward? By ANT KATZ

29 May 2014: DIRCO POSITIVE ON SA/ISRAEL TRADE & TOURISM RELATIONS - Israel is one of SA’s top three trading partners and #1 in tourism from the Middle East. SA “hoped that this area of co-operation will continue to expand in the years to come,” said DIRCO’s chief director, Mideast this week. Read Themba Rubushe full speech and see more pics. By ANT KATZ

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