Israeli tourist numbers hit record high in 2010


JERUSALEM – About 3.1 million people, a record high, visited Israel in the Hebrew calendar year 2010, the Israeli Tourism Ministry announced Sunday.

The figure, which represents the number of tourists from September 2009 to September 2010, is 18 percent higher than that of 2009 and 10 percent higher than 2008.

Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said the marketing efforts of his office to improve Israel’s image as an attractive tourism destination in the past year succeeded in significantly raising the number of tourist.

“The Tourism Ministry plans to increase its marketing activity in the coming year in order to advance its target of bringing another million tourists to Israel by 2012 and 5 million by 2015,” he said.

Despite periodic outbreaks of violence, the relative calm that Israel enjoyed in recent years has been cited as the primary reason behind the dramatic upsurge in the number of tourists. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the southern port city of Eilat are among the most popular destinations, and hotels in these cities register a 100 percent occupancy, with bookings made months in advance.