Record-Breaking Numbers in Israel Tourism Industry

As those who are intimately involved in Israeli politics and life like Daniel Taub will be thrilled to hear, Israel’s tourism industry is experiencing record-breaking numbers. November 2016 saw almost as much income from tourists in that one month as the annual Israel tourism marketing budget. During the first 11 months of 2016, 2,651,400 tourists came to Israel. This was an increase of 2% over the previous year.

Now, Israel is setting its sights on bringing in tourists from China and India. In August, the Ministry of tourism actually launched their first, ever, television advertising campaign in India. Their slogan was, “On most vacations, you take a trip. But in Israel, you take a journey.”

They have also focused on China because Chinese tourists spend the most money when they come to visit, with approximately $1,900 spent per tourist per visit. This is compared to $1600 on average. As Tourism Minister Yariv Levin explained,

“Our goal is to continue focusing our campaigns so as to meet the challenge of creating an ongoing increase in incoming tourism. This is proof of the tourist industry’s incredible potential and the fact that the innovative ideas that we are putting into practice have led to an immediate significant contribution to the Israeli economy.”

How Trips to Israel Really Make a Difference

Programs like Birthright have received a lot of attention. Do they really work? Does it make a difference if you bring young adults to Israel to see the country first hand? Apparently it does. The Jewish News found that 54% of first-time visitors from England to Israel had an improved impression of the country after being there. The survey was a combined initiative by the newspaper and EasyJet.

As easyJet explained, “Our research, in conjunction with the Jewish News, has helped us better understand why passengers choose Tel Aviv. The most striking finding was the destination’s growing popularity with young travelers who viewed it as a relaxing, beach destination. One of the reasons for launching new flights from Gatwick is because Tel Aviv’s appeal has been growing.”

Daniel Taub, in an Op-Ed that accompanied the survey, said that the results confirm “the troubling fact that widely-held perceptions of Israel are disconnected from, and far more negative, than the reality. The fact is that the majority of people will never visit Israel and their inaccurate preconceptions are unlikely to be corrected.”

He said that the survey raised two important questions. Daniel Taub’s questions were: “If more than half of visitors to Israel are so pleasantly surprised by what they see with their own eyes, can the media truly be fulfilling its responsibility to present that reality accurately?” and “If the reality is truly Israel’s greatest ally, what more can we do to enable people to experience the reality of Israel?”