Todd Bolen of BiblePlaces is now in Israel with a student group. He calls attention to this news item:
The Ministry of Tourism reports that 290,000 tourists visited Israel in April 2008, an amount similar to that recorded in Israel’s record-breaking tourism year, 2000.
The totals for this past April were 26% over April 2006, as well as 41% more than April 2007, when tourism was still negatively affected by the Second Lebanon War eight months earlier.
Annual Rate Up 43%
During the first four months of 2008, 936,000 tourists arrived in Israel – an increase of 43% from the same period in 2007, and 34% more than the same period in 2006.
The current pace of growth is consistent with Tourism Ministry goals to attract 2.8 million tourists to Israel this year. However, Tourism Ministry Director General Sha’ul Tzemach says that this blessing places in bold relief the increasing shortage of available guest rooms in Israel.
“The current number of guest rooms does not match future demands,” Tzemach said. The Ministry hopes to attract 5 million tourists in 2012. “We hope to build another 2,500 rooms within three years, and to increase the budget for building hotels and assisting local and foreign entrepreneurs who have recently shown great interest in investing in the Israeli hotel industry.”
For the full report click here.
When we were there in April, we could see the increase over 2006. We did not see quite as many Americans, but there were more tourists. Hotel space is difficult to get, and I hear that hotel prices are going up. Sort of like oil; the more they sell, the higher they price it!