With much fanfare, Israel hits record 3 millionth tourist in 2017

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin welcomes Ioana Isac and Mihai Georgescu of Romania to Israel. Photo Credit: Doron Barsky

Trending this year: A trip to Israel! 

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Israel’s goal has been to increase tourism traffic to and within Israel, strengthening the country’s image while boosting Israel’s economy.

It seems to be working. This Jubilee year has seen a bumper crop of tourists, more so than any previous year.

In fact, a new tourism milestone was reached as visitor no. 3 million disembarked at Israel’s Ben Gurion International airport last week. The unsuspecting Romanian, Ioana Isac, and her boyfriend became tourists 3 million and 3 million and one respectively. The Ministry of Tourism marked the occasion with a grand reception.

Whisked away from the conveyor belt while still waiting for her luggage (with an explanation that the luggage would come later), Isac was taken to a reception hall replete with cameras, journalists and other cheering officials. Isac then walked on a red carpet where she was met by the Israeli Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin.

In typical Israeli airport fashion she was given flowers and balloons amid the celebrations and a special certificate for representing a new record in the country’s tourism. Later, the couple were given a private tour of Jerusalem’s popular attraction the Tower of David by none other than the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This is an amazing experience, I’m living my dream right now,” she said.

The tourism minister was also delighted.

“Reaching the 3 millionth tourist this year and breaking the all-time record of tourist visits to Israel is a celebratory day and a historic landmark,” he said. “I am excited to receive the 3 millionth tourist this week and am happy about our achievements at the Ministry of Tourism as a result of the tremendous investment we make in marketing Israel around the world.”

Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics shows that in the first four months of the 2017 20 percent more tourists visited Israel than in the same time frame of 2016. By the middle of the year, 1.74 million tourists had come, a 28 percent rise over the year before.

The Tourism Ministry said that they had implemented innovative marketing and branding activities and had enabled new airlines to establish routes to the country, adding to the influx of visitors.

This in turn has created thousands more jobs and brought in much-needed revenue which Israel relies on.

“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord!”
Isaiah 2:3