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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.

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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.


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