Israel is the second country in the world, outside of Europe, in the number of tourists who have visited Berlin since the beginning of the year and in the number of tourist stays in the German capital. The United States is the only country to have sent more tourists to Berlin than Israel, according to data released by the city’s Tourism Ministry.
Last year Israel was third in the number of tourists who visited Berlin, after the US and Japan, but the global financial crisis led to a 25% drop in the number of Japanese tourists entering the city between January and July and to a 24% decline in the number of Japanese tourist stays.
The same period, however, saw a 15.5% increase in the number of Israelis entering Berlin and an 11% rise in the number of Israeli tourist stays in the city.
According to the data, the average number of nights spent by an Israeli tourist in Berlin places the Jewish state in the first place among all tourists arriving in the city, including tourists from Europe: An average of three nights, compared to an average of 2.3 nights among all tourists.
Berlin recorded some 25,000 entries of Israeli tourists from January to July and 77,025 Israeli tourist stays. According to the data, Berlin’s hotels recorded about 10 million stays and the total number of stays by tourists from overseas was 923,040.
Cultural activities, accelerated development
Berlin has become a particularly popular destination among Israeli tourists, with four airlines offering direct flights from Tel Aviv to the German capital – El Al, Israir, TUIfly and Air Berlin.
Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the accelerated development process the city has undergone, it has turned into Europe’s new metropolis and is considered one of the most toured cities in the continent. The German capital offers diverse cultural activities, which include dozens of art, history, archaeology and nature museums.
The city offers many attractions, including the Reichstag building, Brandenburg Gate, the Zoological Garden, the Berlin Cathedral and the Jewish Quarter, as well as a particularly rich night life with a variety of concerts, operas, jazz, rock and techno clubs, night clubs and discotheques.
Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, is openly gay, and so the city is also the nightlife capital of the homosexual and lesbian community in Europe.
The accelerated development has led to the construction of many hotels and has increased the competition among hotels, leading to reasonable prices which are much lower than in most big European cities.
In addition, the city has a large number of shopping malls, new and old, with prices which are cheaper than in most countries in Europe, turning every visit to the city into shopping festival.