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Travelujah_ / Tourism - Posts
The unexpected beauty of the Negev offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a 2-day getaway. Promising a myriad of biblical archaeological sites, hiking trails, Bedouin hospitality and even some delightful boutique wineries, the Negev desert is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy it all!
And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of the well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. (Genesis 21:25) …Wherefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there they swore both of them (Genesis 21:31)
How did Abraham achieve greatness? As the Bible tells us, he knew where to dig wells. He could access water, even i
Traveling to Israel has never been more popular than in 2012. By the end of this week 3.5 million visitors will have traveled to Israel this year, 4% more than in 2011. It should be noted, however, that the impact from the downturn that occurred last month due to cancellations during and following short-lived conflict in Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense, are not completely represented in these statistics.
Ethiopian Catholics visiting Israel during Holy Week. Photo: courtesy Travelujah
The United states continues to be largest source for incoming tourism, with 610,000 tourists and representing 18% of all tourists to Israel. Russia, however, is quickly becoming a very significant source market for Israel and is expected to exceed the US as the number one market for incoming tourists in the next year. In 2005, approxiately 45,000 Russians visited Israel while 590,000 Russian tourists visited in 2012, representing a compound annual growth of over 44%. In the last year alone Russian tourism to Israel grew 18%. The cancellation of the visa requirement for all Russians traveling to Israel in 2010, is one of the major factors that has positively impacted touri
In the book of John, we read of the wedding at Cana where Jesus miraculously turned water into wine. Jesus produced wine which was more delicious than that which the wedding guests had ever tasted before. Lying in the centre of the Galilee region, Cana is situated in the heart of the ancient and modern Israeli wine-making country, an area which is still wowing wine enthusiasts today.
Throughout the Old and New Testament, the vine is the defining feature of ancient Israel. Noah was the first recorded viticulturist who 'planted a vineyard' following the great flood and when Moses sent the twelve spies to scout out the holy land, it was a bunch of grapes that they returned with.
It was in ancient Israel that the conquering Romans first learned about the art of winemaking and became so fond of wine that senior commanders ordered that grape extract, sugar and alcohol (i.e. wine concoction) be taken with them on all military expeditions. The Romans also shipped back to Rome the seeds of different grape varietals grown in Israel, which included the Shiraz variety that originated in the Shiraz region of ancient Persia.
Winemaking in Ancient Israel reached its peak during the time of Jesus and in the books of Mathew, Mark and Luke, Jesus refers to Israel as "God's vineyard". Travelling around Northern Israel spreading his good word, Jesus would have been surroun
Despite the political uncertainty and the global economic crisis in the world, Israel has attracted 3.5 million visitors over the last 12 months, 3% more than in the last Jewish New year, 5771. Of these, about 3 million represent people who've stayed longer than one night.
The most significant segment growth has been within the cruise industry, as more cruise ships are now including Israel as a destination.
Tourism continues to be a strong economic driver for Israel generating revenues of NIS 18 billion, representing an increase of 10% over last year.
As a result of significant grants to encourage new hotel development, 18 new hotels are under construction and are anticipated to add 2,119 hotels to the room supply around the country. Nine new properties representing 889 hotel rooms are under construction in Jerusalem.
Israel Minister of Tourism Sta Misezhnikov, photo courtesy Travelujah
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said "Against the background of the geopolitical challenges and the global economic crisis, the achievements are even greater. We will continue to work in the coming year to make a vacation in Israel more accessible, cheaper and
Israel continues to attract record breaking numbers of tourists this year. Since January 2012, two million visitors have arrived to the country, 1.7 million of which are tourists, representing a 7% increase over the same period last year.
The increase in tourism is causing shortages in Israel's hotel room supply. As a result, significant incentives are being offered to lure the development of new hotels as well as the refurbishment of existing properties.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said "Given the constant increase in demand, there is an urgent need for more hotel rooms that will increase competition in the industry and lead to a decrease in the cost of accommodation for both tourists and Israelis."
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, 296,000 visitors arrived in Israel during July 2012, up from 274,000 visitors last year representing an increase of 8%.
Of the 3.4 million tourists who visited Israel last year, over 60% or 2.3 million of these tourists were Christian. The Christian tourism market represents one of the fastest growing segments of Israel's tourism industry and offers one of the most important avenues for future growth.
Israel's tourism industry is a significant contributor to Israel's GDP. The average tourist spends US$1320 during his stay in Israel.
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Israel experienced another record month of tourism in May as over 321,000 visitors arrived in Israel, representing an increase of 5% over the previous high set in 2010. Year to date figures show that 2012 has been a banner year for tourism to Israel so far. Over 1.4 million people have arrived to Israel of which 85% represent tourists. Travelujah estimates that a total of 3.6 million visitors will arrive by year end 2012, assuming the calm environment continues.
Photo courtesy: Travelujah
Minister of Tourism Staz Misechnikov said, "The consistent increase in incoming tourism and the new record highs prove that the investment in
There are so many fascinating experiences to be had in the Holy Land that it is difficult to call just one the "most unique," but going on a historical scavenger hunt in Jerusalem's Old City has got to rank pretty high on the uniqueness scale.
Pilgrimage tours to Israel are nothing new for many Christians. In fact, for some it is becoming old hat. And most Christian tour groups only get the opportunity to see Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land as a piece of antiquity, an impersonal history lesson. The team at Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts is determined to change that.
"It is easy to see Jerusalem as one big museum, but it's so much more - it is a real place where people live, love and die," Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts host Jeremy said as our team prepared to set off in search of historical gems in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.
More and more Christians are finding that their visit to Israel can be rewarding and meaningful when they roll up their sleeves and volunteer to help organizations, projects and individuals rather than merely tour the sites of the Holy Land.
In May, one group did just that. And all 14 members of the group - 12 of them who visited for the first time - were immensely impacted by the trip. Many even wished they had spent more time rolling up their sleeves and less time touring. The 14-day trip was divided between seven days of working and seven days of visiting the holy sites. Without fail, the group's members said the "work days" were the most rewarding.
"It gave more depth to the trip than just coming to see the sites," said Karen Panapa. "Those were our best days."
Panapa explained that when she travels, she prefers personal contact than just visiting the sites, to immerse herself in the culture and get to meet the people of the land. This tour, designed by Travelujah, provided a gratifying balance, she said.
The group, from Edgewater Christian Fellowship in Oregon, worked alongside 85 year old Yehuda Avri in the orchards of Vered HaGalil, a guest farm he created over 40 years ago in the Galilee; met with the Christian community in
Tourism is up in the Holy Land, big time. During 2010, an estimated two million people visited Bethlehem, a record year for the biblical destination. But, like Mary and Joseph so many centuries ago, most of the pilgrims could find no room at the inn.
Because of the severe lack of hotel rooms - Bethlehem, for instance, has just under 2,000 hotel rooms - very few Christian pilgrims spend the night in Palestinian towns that host some of the Bible's most important landmarks. So, while tourism numbers are up, the Palestinians aren't seeing much increased revenue as most visitors move on to locations in Israel before they have a chance to spend any money.
Jacir Palace Intercontinental Hotel Bethlehem, courtesy Travelujah
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities is looking to remedy the problem, and provide greater convenience for visitors who may want to spend a bit more time in the town of Jesus' birth, or explore the fascinating biblical town of Jericho, which just celebrated its 10,000th anniversary as an inhabited city.
Figures released by the ministry suggested visitors, especially Eastern Orthodox and Catholic pilgrims,
More tourists from Catholic countries visited Israel in January 2010 than in the last two years during the same month, according to the Tourism Ministry.
The tourists themselves were not necessarily Catholic pilgrims, however. Father Athanasius Macora said Old City churches did not report any increase in masses or visitors during January and February. He is expecting a surge during March and April and urges pilgrims to visit the Holy Land any time of the year, not just for the holidays.
"We always encourage people to come because we have the holy places and the holy places help you understand the gospels. We call it ‘the fifth gospel,'" he told Travelujah, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy