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Tourism in Israel


Tourism in Israel | Popular places to visit | Historical and biblical sites


Tourism in Israel is one of the country's major sources of income, with 3.45 million tourist arrivals in 2010. Israel offers a plethora of historical and religious sites, beach resorts, archaeological tourism, heritage tourism and ecotourism. Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
In 2009, the two most visited sites were the Western Wall and the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; the most popular paid tourist attraction is Masada.
Most tourists visit from the United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Poland, The Netherlands, India, South Korea, Australia, and Brazil.



Tourist demographics and economic contribution

According to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, in 2009 54% of the 2.7 million visitors to Israel were Christian. Jewish tourists accounted for 39%. Revenue from tourism in 2009 totalled $ 3.3 billion. In 2010, tourism constituted 6.4% of the country's GDP. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that real GDP growth for tourism in Israel is expected to average 5.0% per annum over the years 2010-2020.
The contribution of tourism to Gross Domestic Product is expected by WTTC to rise from 6.4% (US$12.0 billion) in 2010 to 7.2% ($22.1 billion) by 2020. The contribution of the industry to employment is 223,000 jobs in 2010, 7.9% of total employment. Export earnings from international visitors and tourism goods are expected to generate 6.5% of total exports (US $4.8 billion) in 2010. Investment in tourism is estimated at US $2.3 billion or 7.6% of total investment in 2010. The Israel Travel & Tourism economy is ranked number 51 in absolute size worldwide, of the 181 countries estimated by the WTTC.



International recognition and awards

In 2005, Ernst & Young conducted a comprehensive research study on Israeli tourism. The report, entitled "A New Market Strategy for Israeli Tourism" was published in November 2006. The researchers felt that increasing the number of international tourists by 2011 from 1.9 million to 4–5 million was a feasible goal.
The report stated that Israel's most attractive feature for international markets was its religious culture and history and the great diversity it offers within a very small country.
According to the researchers, Israel's different cultures and religions, its diverse landscapes, the contrasts between cities (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv), and combination of European and Middle Eastern culture produced a "very high density of experience." The report recommended that Israel adopt appropriate marketing strategies to counter any perceived negative imagery associated with political developments.
In 2010, Israel won the title of "most outstanding stand" in all categories at the world's largest tourism fair, ITB, held in Berlin. The Israeli stand won the title of "best presenter" in the Near East and Middle East for the third time in a row.

Source: Wikipedia.com



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