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Tags - tourism
After four months of lagging tourism numbers compared to the record-setting level of 2010, Israel’s fortunes seem to have turned as the number of visitors to the Holy Land in the month of May was higher than the same month last year - a 5 percent increase over the former record.
Some 308,000 visitors arrived in Israel during the spring month and a total of 1,350,000 since January. In general, the numbers have been down slightly from last year. The January to May period in 2011 showed a 2 percent drop from 2010.
“The success of the Tourism Ministry in stabilizing incoming tourism to Israel, given the geopolitical situation in the region that is affecting the image of the region and Israel within it, is both impressive and important,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “We will continue in these efforts in the coming months.”
Misezhnikov is in Milan, Italy this week to launch “Israel Week,” a worldwide campaign to promote tourism to Israel. The Tourism Ministry is planning to invest 60 million shekels in the summer campaign.
“This is the time to exploit opportunities, to be flexible and respond swiftly and, at the same time, to maintain ongoing market analysis,” Misezhnikov said. “We will work to maximize the marketing investment and to significantly shorten the period of recovery.”
Misezhnikov was in Italy last week as part of "Israel Week," launched in Milan to promote tourism to the Holy Land. The minister signed an agreement with his Italian counterpart Tourism Minister Michela Vittoria Brambilla to promote bilateral tourism, information exchange in various fields, the promotion of Christian and pilgrim tourism to Israel and culinary and cultural events.
The Jerusalem Light Festival 2011 is illuminating the Old City this week in a resplendent display that is dazzling visitors each evening.
The event takes place until June 22 and is a feat in the field of light art and design. Each night the lights go on at 8 p.m. and stay lit up until midnight. This event joins prestigious light festivals worldwide, taking place in Lyon, Glasgow, Lisbon among other places.
Video courtesy of AllAboutJerusalem.com
All photos courtesy of AllAboutJerusalem.com
All photos courtesy of AllAboutJerusalem.com
Israel ranked second out of 48 countries in a vote by Russian citizens selecting their choice for the best tourism and sightseeing country worldwide. The vote was part of a competition by National Geographic Russia Magazine and was sponsored by the Russian tourism industry.
Israel's second-place ranking placed it right after Italy, which came in first, and right before third-place Holland. Israel surpassed 22 other countries including the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, China. Competition organizers said the results of the vote signify the attractiveness of these destinations to the Russian market and gives an indication of future tourism to those nations.
The National Geographic Traveler Awards in Russia is an annual competition. During the first stage of the competition countries are chosen by travel agents and tour operators in Russia. Then magazine readers choose their favorite destinations. In the third stage, the competition is open to a vote for anyone in Russia. This year, more than 10,000 readers and Russian citizens placed their vote for the 48 countries in the various categories.
A victory ensures the winning countries feature articles in the international edition of National Geographic plus a series of articles in Russian's National Geographic that reaches more than 140,000 monthly readers.
In the last three years, Israel's Ministry of Tourism has increased its efforts to attract Russian travelers. The efforts appear to be paying off. In 2010, tourism from Russia to Israel placed second (following the U.S.) with more than 550,000 visitors.
The trend has continued already this year with 357,000 Russians visiting the country through September. The preferred destinations for Russian tourists include Eilat, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the various Russian Orthodox sites in Israel.
Israel's Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said Russians' connection to Israel was buoyed when the country recently removed its visa requirement for tourists from Russia to the Holy Land, making Israel a more attractive and accessible destination.
“Despite the global economic crisis, we have witnessed an increase in tourism over the last year,” Misezhnikov said. “Russia has turned into the second leader in tourism to Israel and will continue to remain in the center of the Ministry of Tourism's marketing efforts, while larger budgets are allocated.”