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November 18, 2012November 18, 2012  0 comments  Events

Tourism sites in the center and north of the country were full of tourists over the weekend. Tourism Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar-Nir visited the main tourism sites in Jerusalem, including , among others, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher , Gethsemane and throughout the Old City. Bar Nir spoke with groups of tourists and their guides and noted that it is "business as usual, in Jerusalem and the North, especially in Nazareth which is currently hosting thousands of tourists. It should be noted that the ministry has been advised of a few groups who decided to cut short their visit and return home early.


In the short term there have been cancellations among tourists due to arrive in the country. However, it is still difficult to assess the scope of the damage to the tourism industry, which has registered record numbers of incoming tourism in recent years. So far in 2012, tourism is up over 10 % from 2011 levels. 


Over this past weekend he Tourism Ministry established a situation room to receive updates on the unfolding situation and constantly reviews assessments of the situation. At the moment, the main work of the ministry is explaining the situation to tourism wholesalers, tour operators etc. overseas who bring over groups of tourists and market packages to Israel. To date date, there has been no serious damage beyond a 40 kilometer radius from Gaza. Cruise ships that were due to dock in Ashdod are, instead, docking in Haifa.


For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Internet website where the Worldwide CautionCountry Specific Information for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found, including the current Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  You can also follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.  Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

U.S. citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

For further information, U.S. citizens may telephone the Consulate General in Jerusalem at (972) (2) 630-4000 or the Embassy in Tel Aviv at (972) (3) 519-7575 during working hours. After hours (for emergencies), U.S. citizens may telephone either the Consulate General at (972) (2) 622-7250 or the Embassy in Tel Aviv at (972) (3) 519-7551. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://usembassy-israel.org.il or http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov.


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Elisa L. Moed is the founder and CEO, of Travelujah- Holy Land tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.






November 20, 2012November 20, 2012  0 comments  Events

Tourism sites in Tel Aviv, Nazareth and Jerusalem continue to be bustling with tourists.


More than 100,000 tourists are currently in Israel and touring the country. According to Israel's Ministry of tourism, the country has not yet found mass cancellations or departures.


Tourism in Israel.


While there have been some cancellations in recent days but not at a level that would suggest any kind of trend. Only a handful of groups currently in the country brought forward their departure date.

Advance bookings:

Several cruise ships canceled their planned arrival in Israeli ports in the short term. The ministry has received reports of groups from various destinations which have postponed their arrival in Israel - but not in significant numbers. The real question is whether and how much impact the tourism industry will suffer in the long term.

The Tourism Ministry established a situation room over the weekend that receives updates on the unfolding situation and constantly reviews assessments of the situation. To date there has not been any damage in populated areas beyond a 40 kilometer radius from Gaza. The IDF is involved in operational activity in the South of Israel, a safe distance from the traditional tourist routes and sites in the country and the situation is under control. Jerusalem is about 80 kilometers from Gaza, and the Galilee is approximately 200 kilometers.




Tags: israel tourism 

June 13, 2012June 13, 2012  2 comments  Tourism

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.


ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles

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 the industry contributes to increased income for the economy and creates tens of thousands of new jobs. Against the background of the ongoing global economic crisis, the importance of investment in engines for growth becomes sharper and tourism is a central player in maintaining the robust Israeli economy." Staz Misechnikov


Christian tourism in particular, represents a very sizable portion of Israel's tourism market with Christian tourists representing over 60% of all day and overnight tourists to Israel.


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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


August 8, 2012August 8, 2012  0 comments  Tourism

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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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah - Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


December 24, 2012December 24, 2012  0 comments  Tourism

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.

travelujah - visitors

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 tourism from Russia.


The growth of the Russian market has also prompted the increase of One day visitors to Israel which has also seen steady growth over the last few years. In 2012, this segment increased 15% over 2011 figures.


Overall the major source markets for tourism to Israel include the United States with 610,000 visitors, Russia with 590,000 visitors, France with 300,000 visitors. Germany 230,000 and the United Kingdom with 208,000 visitors.

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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to Israel. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

January 9, 2014January 9, 2014  0 comments  Tourism

Despite a two year old civil war raging in Syria and ongoing conflict in Egypt, tourists are flocking to a very peaceful Israel. The Israel Ministry of Tourism announced today that a record number of tourists, 3.56 million, visited the country in 2013, up slightly over 2012 levels. The number of tourist entries increased 3 % over 2012, pointing to a growing interest in longer term visitors rather than day visitors.

2013 was a banner year for Israel tourism, marked by several significant events including President Obama's first presidential visit to the country in March 2013 followed by the renewal of peace talks, which have fueled an atmosphere of cautious optimism.Moreover the security situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories continues to be quiet with little, if any, distruptions occcuring within the tourism sector as a result of political situation.

The United States continued to be the most significant market for for incoming tourists with 623,000 tourists, however, tourism from Russia, which has been increasing signficantly over the last few years due to the elimination of visa requirements, registered 603,000 tourists. Given its proximity to Israel and increasing economic strength, it is quite likely that in future years Russia will overtake the US as the most significant market of tourism to Israel. Other important markets continue to be France, Germany, and the UK.

Tourism 2014 is anticipated to continue its upward trend. The new open skies agreement is expected to prompt a number of new airlines to fly to Israel increasing competition and lowering fares.Pope Francis's upcoming pilgrimage will undoubtedly have a positive influence on tourism though much of the impact will likely be felt in tje end of 2014 and into 2015. A number of new hotels have recently opened and are under construction, both in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories. This is expected to drive additional growth during high peak periods of the year and, in addition, should also help to drive more overnights into the neighboring Palestinian Territoires, which, compared to Israel, remain sorely in need of new hotels to meet the growing demand to the region.

Christians continue to represent the most significant group of tourists with over 56% of all tourists to Israel. Of these, Catholics comprise approxiamtely one half of all Christians, or about 1.1 million tourists.


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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

Tags: israel tourism 

April 9, 2014April 9, 2014  0 comments  Tourism

Tourism to Israel continued to increase to record levels as the number of tourists arriving in Israel in March 2014 hit a new all time high. In March 2014, 284,000 tourists arrived in Israel representing a 13% increase over the previous year. Since the beginning of January 2014, tourism to Israel has continued to climb.  In January-March 2014, 776,000 visitors arrived in Israel, 3% more than the same period in 2013. Of these apprxoimately 700,000 were tourist arrivals.


The high growth rate further highlights the shortage of hotel rooms in Israel, and particularly in high demand areas such as the Galilee and Jerusalem. There is concern that prices, which are already high, will continue to rise even more, and could impede or at least slow further growth.


Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "The year 2014 began with the momentum of a record-breaking year for incoming tourism in 2013. The Tourism Ministry is working intensively to constantly improve the quality of service, to promote tourism projects, to improve the tourism product and to market Israel widely and effectively throughout the world. I wish all our visitors, from Israel and overseas, a happy Passover and invite them to take advantage of the holiday and tour our beautiful country."


March 2014 Statistics

245,000 entries were by air, 12% more than March 2013, of which 10,200 arrived on direct flights to Eilat (1% more than March 2013) . 39,000 tourists came through the border crossings, 23% more than March 2013; 32,000 came through the border with Jordan (34% increase) and about 6,000 through Taba to Eilat (15%  more than last February). Day visitors and cruise visitors declined substantially over the previous year likelydue to tensions from other countries in the region.


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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian travel network focused on Holy Land tours. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


Tags: israel tourism 

July 2, 2014July 2, 2014  0 comments  Tourism

The number of tourists visiting Israel continued its record climb in May as total tourism increased 17% over the same period in 2013 in 2013. Pope Francis's recent visit to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories brought significant exposure to the region and is expected to prompt many more tourists, particularly Christian tourists, to visit the region.


Cultural tourism represents a growing market for Israel. With the Ministry of Tourism organizing many exciting cultural events such as the Israel Opera performing at two of Israel's UNESCO World Heritage sites including Masada and Acco, the Mozart Festival in Beersheva in May, Jerusalem Light Festival as well as world class musical and arts, the  area is growing in popularity as a cultural destination. According to Tourism Minister Uzi Landa, "Those that come to Israel will discover a country not only blessed with so many holy sites, but also spectacular landscapes, rich in history, culture and night life."


In 2013, approximately 3.55 million tourists visited Israel. Based on results so far this year, 2014 could be another record year  - with over 3.7 visitors - should the increase continue. However,  in the aftermath of the recent kidnappings and murder of three Israeli boys as well as a non yet confirmed revenge killing of an Arab boy in Jerusalem (today) - the recent tension in the region is expected to dampen tourism prospects over the next few months.  While tourism remains quite safe for locals, the ongoing political conflict is likely to cause some tourists to postpone their tours in the short term.



Tags: israel tourism 

January 6, 2015January 6, 2015  0 comments  Tourism

What only a few months ago looked like a banner year in Israel tourism, has taken a sharp downward turn as the country continues to experience significant declines in international tourism arrivals. The first six months of 2014 were exceptionally strong for tourism, as the numbers of tourists visiting Israel increased over 18% from the peak levels achieved in 2013. However, the start of the war with Gaza, which lasted almost two months, and the subsequent disturbances in Jerusalem as well as the region, have continued to have a very negative impact on tourism to Israel.  The 18% gains in tourism were wiped out by the significant decrease of tourist arrivals during the second half of the year and as a result, 2014 is expected to end with a 3.3% decrease in tourists or around 3.3 million people.


Historically wars in Israel have always promped tourists to cancel or postpone their visits, but  usually once a war is over, tourism almost immediately begins to bounce back. However, since this last war was over in late August, this has not been the case. In fact three months after the cessation of hostilities with Gaza, in November, always a peak month for pilgrimage, only 243,000 tourists arrived, representing a decline of   21% over November 2013 figures.  In fact, the entire post war fall/winter period from September to November, tourism has fallen approximately 20%.


Christian tourism continues to be the strongest market for tourism to Israel, representing over 50% of all travelers to Israel.  Approximately half of Christian tourists are Catholics, while 20%  are Protestant. Russian Orthodox, which has grown significantly in the last few years visa restrictions to/from Russia and the Ukraine were  eliminated, is estimated at around 30%.


The United States remains the largest source market for Israel, followed by Russia, Italy, Germany and the UK. The open skies agreement has enabled many more airlines to fly to Israel and as a number of low cost airlines are now serving Israel.


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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah-Holy Land tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.



Tags: israel tourism 

May 9, 2012May 9, 2012  0 comments  Holy Sites

Tourism to Israel continues its upward trend as record numbers of tourists flocked to the Holy Land in April 2012.


A record 354,000 tourists arrived in Israel last month, representing a 12% increase over the last previous record April, set in 2010.


Over one million tourists have traveled to Israel during the first four months of 2012, representing a 19% increase over 2011 figures for the same period, and a 12% increase over the same period in 2010, the last record year for tourism.  Easter and Passover both  fell in the month of April in 2012 and in 2011.


tourism in israel
Tourists praying outside the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy Travelujah


In addition, the number of tourists entering by air increased 3% over the same period last year representing 793,000 entries. About 140,000 people entered by land borders, up 8 % over the same period in 2011. Much of this increase is attributed to the political stability in Egypt and accordingly, Israel's major tourism crossing border with Egypt had 42,600 tourists representing an increase of 30% compared to the same period last year.

Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov, said: "The consistent increase in the numbers of visitors entering Israel positions the country as an attractive tourism destination of the first order, makes a contribution to the national economy and increases employment market in the center and the periphery."


Given the additional hotel rooms underdevelopment along with continued quiet in the region, Israel's tourism industry could very well continue with its record double digit growth. If the current increases remain steady, for the first time Israel may come close to or even surpass the four million tourist mark in 2012.

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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.



Tags: israel tourism 

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