International tourists have been visiting Israel at record levels in the last 12-months after official figures recorded a 14 percent increase in 2018 compared to 2017.
The Israel Ministry of Tourism confirmed a record-breaking year this week, with 4.1 million visitors arriving last year, mainly from the US, UK, France, Russia, Germany and Italy.
The figure represents a 14 percent increase on 2017 and a 42 percent increase on 2016, when tourism chiefs hailing a “revolution” in the way Israel is now seen as a top destination.
“We are optimistic about 2019, which begins with the opening of the new international airport at Timna, bringing new flights to Eilat,” said Tourism Ministry general-director Amir Halevi.
“What was considered a fantasy a few years ago is today a reality, that Israel is a preferred tourist destination among tourism destinations,” he said, adding that it was “part of a revolution in the way Israel is marketed”.
Music continues to be a big draw, with a Bon Jovi concert this summer expected to pull in large numbers and an international jazz festival in the resort city of Eilat next month attracting a dedicated following.
Israel’s history also continues to capture the imagination, with CNN recently listing Jaffa as a top tourist destination for 2019, as visitors were seemingly not put off by a year of conflict on the Gaza border.