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June 21, 2010June 21, 2010  1 comments  Uncategorized
After a decade of being banned by Israeli law from Palestinian territories, 100 tour guides from Israel - 50 Jewish and 50 Druze - will return to tour guiding in Bethlehem as part of a pilot program beginning today.

The Israeli government has forbidden its own citizens from entering the Palestinian Authority since the outbreak of the intifada in 2000, but recent overtures by Israel’s Tourism Ministry which contacted the army and Civil Administration resulted in making an exception to allow Israeli tour guides into Bethlehem, a destination city for many Christian tourists.

The decision is expected to ease obstacles encountered by many tourism industry professionals including guides, travel agencies and tour operators. Some 500 Israeli tour guides requested participation in the project, but only 50 were selected by lottery, the Tourism Ministry announced today.

Previously if members of a guide’s group wanted to visit Bethlehem, they would have to go on their own or be met by a Palestinian guide on the other side of the checkpoint. Due to the inconvenience, many opted not to go, damaging Bethlehem’s tourism industry.

Civil Administration Commander Lt.-Col. Eyah Sirhan said that the safety and security of the tour guides was a top priority in approving the program and its regulations.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said he hoped the move would improve Israel’s image as a safe destination for tourists and lauded the hearty response of Israeli tour guides to participate in the program and cooperate with the Palestinian Authority.

The end of the Palestinian uprising combined with cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian tourism ministries have resulted in a significant increase in visitors to Bethlehem, reaching as high as 1.3 million in 2009.

August 9, 2010August 9, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Its not just the temperatures that are sizzling in Israel. Tourism is again at an all-time high with record-breaking numbers in July.


The Ministry of Tourism announced today that 280,000 tourists visited Israel in July 2010, setting an all-time record for the month of July and amassing an increase of 11 percent over July a year ago. In the first seven months of 2010, 1.9 million tourists visited Israel, an increase of 34 percent over the same period last year and 10 percent more than 2008, the previous record-setting year for tourism in Israel.

 

“The consistent growth in incoming tourism over recent months, alongside the increasing satisfaction tourists feel towards the service they receive in Israel, should not be taken for granted,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. 


He said that the massive upturn in tourism is due to Israel’s investment in marketing, public relations and infrastructure development. 


“The Israeli public already understands tourism’s contribution to the Israeli economy and creating new jobs, as well as Israel’s image around the world,” Misezhnikov said.


Christian tourists to the Holy Land comprised the largest group of visitors in July. Christians accounted for 58 percent of tourists compared to 34 percent Jewish tourists. More than half of the visitors were in Israel for a return visit and stayed for an average of 10 days. 

 

Tourists, according to a study published today that surveyed 25,000 tourists in 2009, feel like they are getting their money’s worth from their trip to Israel. The poll showed an overall improvement and high marks for sites and services from archaeology and restaurants to cleanliness and security, to name a few.

  

During July Jerusalem was the most visited city (74 percent of the tourists) followed by Tel Aviv (55 percent), the Dead Sea (45 percent), Tiberias (36 percent , Nazareth (29 percent) and Eilat (17 percent).


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for 
Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

 


July 12, 2010July 12, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Tourism to Israel has reached an all-time high with 1.6 million tourists visiting the Holy Land during the first half of 2010, a 39 percent jump over the same period last year and 10 percent higher than in 2008, the previous record year.
 
A record was also set for the month of June as 259,000 tourists--an increase of 24 percent over 2009 and 8 percent over June 2008--visited the country.
 
Last year, Christians comprised slightly more than half of the tourists to Israel, according to tourism ministry numbers. From the Holy Sepulchre to the Garden Tomb and north to the Galilee, Christians, whether Evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox, are flooding the holy sites again this year.

Elisa Moed, chief executive officer of Travelujah (www.travelujah.com), the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land, credits the surge to Christian tourism. Moed estimates that as many as two-thirds of tourists to Israel are Christian.

Israel’s tourism minister credited the ministry’s marketing efforts for the record tourism in the face of challenging public relations.

“The increase in incoming tourism during the first half of this year should not be taken for granted,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “It 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.”

Misezhnikov made a pitch for more government investment for the industry, which would lead to job creation and additional revenue, he said.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


July 13, 2010July 13, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv received the Travel and Leisure stamp of approval, rating respectively as the first and third top cities in all of Africa and the Middle East. Of course, this accolade is no secret to the 1.6 million tourists who visited the Holy Land during the first half of 2010, a record so far.

The prestigious travel magazine listed the rankings of cities for all parts of the world. The ranking was compiled by the magazine’s readers placing Jerusalem as the best city in the category and Tel Aviv in third place. South Africa’s Cape Town came between the two Israeli cities.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed the announcement of Jerusalem as the World’s Best City in Africa and the Middle East. The mayor is aiming to expand tourism to 10 million visitors annually.

The rankings for the top 10 cities for Africa and the Middle East are listed at Travel and Leisure’s website:
Jerusalem 87.55       
Cape Town 87.27       
Tel Aviv 83.38       
Marrakesh, Morocco    83.04       
Cairo 78.29       
Petra, Jordan 77.56       
Dubai 73.71       
Alexandria, Egypt 73.33       
Nairobi, Kenya 72.82       
Amman, Jordan    71.34

The Israeli cities did not make it into the international top 10.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


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