The number of tourists visiting Israel continues to soar with some 393,000 tourists arriving in the country in March, a 34% increase from last year and 63% more than March 2016, according to final figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and the Central Bureau of Statistics last Tuesday.
“This a result of the marketing activities and the innovative steps we are taking, together with the incentives for airlines and investment in infrastructure,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “Further to the opening of new direct air routes and new markets from India and Brazil in the last month, we are witnessing record levels of incoming tourists. I am pleased that impressive increases were recorded in March as well.”
The increase is partially due to advertising campaigns put out by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in many countries, the ministry said. The largest increases of tourist were registered in the countries in which the ministry is investing its marketing efforts, a 39% increase in visit from the United States, 136% from Poland, 90% from Sweden, 68% from Spain, 55% from Germany and 49% from France.
Most of the visitors arrived by air, 348,200, an increase of 36% on 2017 and 60% on
Since January, tourism in Israel has brought in nearly NIS4.9 billion into the Israeli economy, and about one million tourist entries were recorded, an increase of 30% on the same period in 2017 (770,000) and 58% more than in 2016.
Last year tourism hit an all time high of 3.6 million tourists.
In another travel related development, TPS reported that following Air India’s launch last month of direct service from Tel Aviv to Delhi crossing over Saudi Arabia, airlines from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and a low-cost Indian carrier have requested permission from Saudi authorities for crossover rights for flights to Israel, the Israel Broadcast Corporation (Kan) reported last Tuesday.
By flying over Saudi Arabia, Air India was able to shave approximately three hours off its flight time in comparison to Israel’s national carrier, El Al, which is forced to fly a circuitous route. In order to avoid Arab countries that refuse to grant Israel flyover permission.
El Al officials have also asked Saudi officials to grant flyover permission, and have asked the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to intervene to on the airline’s behalf with Saudi officials. However, the officials said the request is likely to be denied.
El Al also petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to block Air India from using Saudi airspace as long as Israeli airlines are not granted the same right.
The Transportation Ministry said in response to the petition that while permission to fly over Saudi Arabia on the way to Israel is a major political achievement, the ministry would also work to ensure fair competition conditions for El Al.
“The government of Israel has a responsibility to ensure that El Al is not harmed as a result of this important step,” the ministry said.
By: TPS Staff
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