Israel is seeing a jump in tourism to its pre-Covid Crisis levels. While world travel everywhere has rebounded, this is especially important for a small country like Israel that has always been dependent on international tourism for its economy. While Israel is also known as Startup Nation, raking in billions a year from its high-tech industry, the country is still largely dependent on income coming from its tourism industry.
According to data released by Israel’s Government, in January 2023, 257,400 tourist entries were recorded (as opposed to 46,200 in January 2022 and 284,800 in January 2019). This represents a 547% increase on January 2022 (a month in which Israel’s skies were still closed to tourists) and a decrease of only 9.6% on January 2019, which was a record year for incoming tourism.
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This week, at the invitation of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, about 160 tour operators and travel agents from all over the world are arriving in Israel to tour the country. Most of the guests are first-time visitors and are not currently marketing Israel as a tourism destination in their country. During their stay in Israel, they will become acquainted with Israeli tourism product and meet with their local counterparts.
The visit is taking place within the framework of annual Israel: Where Else? Convention held by the Israel Ministry of Tourism (with the exception of the pandemic years), and is planned to coincide with the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) where they will be able to make more connections with the local tourism suppliers. The Tourism Ministry offers the agents four possible touring itineraries – Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; the desert and Eilat; spirituality and religion in Israel; culinary and multi-cultural tourism.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) released the data on Israelis departing the country in January of 2023 as well as tourists who came into the country. The CBS said the data was based on the registration of the movements of Israelis at the borders.
There were 611,100 departures of Israelis abroad recorded in January 2023.
Of these, 575,600 departures were by air, and 35,400 departures were by road.
Israeli citizens who live abroad and came to Israel for “homeland visits” are defined as people who have stayed abroad longer than at least 275 days cumulatively in the past year.
Out of 611,100 departures abroad by Israelis in January of this year, 24,800 (1.4%) were of Israeli citizens living abroad who came to Israel for homeland visits (compared to 4.3% in January 2019 before the Covid crisis).
There were 271,400 recorded visitor arrivals to Israel in January 2023, compared with just 46,700 in January 2022 and 330,000 in January 2020 – before the Covid crisis.
There were 14,000 entries of people who visited Israel just for 1 day, compared with 500 in January 2022 and 24,500 in 2020.