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Sunday, December 23, 2012
INCOMING TOURISM IN ISRAEL 2012 (610,000 Americans, 590,000 Russians)

23 December 2012

2012 – RECORD YEAR FOR INCOMING TOURISM
WITH 3.5 MILLION ENTRIES
RISE IN REVENUES FROM TOURISM: NIS 36 MILLION
VOLUME OF TOURISM FROM RUSSIA INCREASES BY 20% AND IS NOW EQUAL TO THAT OF
USA

TOURISM MINISTER STAS MISEZHNIKOV: “THESE ACHIEVEMENTS ARE A REFLECTION OF
THE INTENSIVE AND PROFESSIONAL WORK OF THE PAST THREE YEARS, WHEN TOURISM
HAS BECOME A MAIN ENGINE FOR GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY WITH A RISE IN REVENUES
AND THE CREATION OF NEW JOBS. MAKING TOURISM A PREFERRED NATIONAL INDUSTRY
WILL STRENGTHEN ISRAEL IN ECONOMIC, IMAGE AND ADVOCACY TERMS”

3.5 million visitors to Israel will have arrived in Israel by end 2012, 4%
more than in 2011. Tourists (not including day visitors) account for 2.9
million entries, 2% more than in 2011. Despite the downturn that occurred in
the last month and a half as a result of Operation Pillar of Defense, this
year sets a new record for incoming tourism to Israel.

As in previous years, the USA remains the largest single source country for
incoming tourism with about 610,000 visitors, representing 18% of all
tourism to the country and a drop of 4% on last year. In second place and
with a very small margin is tourism from Russia with 590,000 visitors, 20%
more than 2011.

Out of 3.5 million visitors, 2.5 million arrived by air (70%), an increase
of 1% compared to 2011. About 406,000 came through the land borders (12%),
an increase of 6% compared to 2011. 625,000 entries (18%) were one-day
visitors, an increase of 15%: of these 235,000 came on cruise ships, a
similar number to 2011.

About 16.5 million domestic overnight stays were registered in 2012 in all
the various types of accommodation, 3% more than last year. There was an
increase of 4% in hotel stays, 2% in youth hostels and ˝% in rural tourism.

Revenue from incoming tourism in 2012 (including the income of the Israeli
aviation companies from inbound tourism) totals about $4.6 billion or 17.8
billion NIS (an increase of 8% - largely due to the increase in the dollar
rate). Revenue from domestic tourism in 2012 totals about 10.3 billion NIS
(3% more than in 2011), and another 8 billion NIS in revenue from outbound
tourism – similar to 2011. Total revenue from tourism in 2012 is estimated
at about 36 billion NIS, 4% more than in 2011.

Further details in the overview below:

INCOMING TOURISM IN ISRAEL 2012
AN OVERVIEW

3.5 million visitors to Israel will have arrived in Israel in 2012, 4% more
than 2011. The number of tourist entries (not including day visitors) will
total 2.9 million entries, a 2% increase compared to 2011. The year 2012
sets a new record for incoming tourism, despite the downturn in the last 6
weeks of the year.

The year 2012 was characterized by a continuing upward trend from February
through to October 2012, but this changed in the middle of November with the
onset of Operation Pillar of Defense. Despite this, 2012 sets a new record
for incoming tourism to Israel.

1. Tourism by mode of travel

Out of 3.5 million visitors, 2.5 million arrived by air (70%), an increase
of 1% compared to 2011. About 406,000 came through the land borders (12%),
an increase of 6% compared to 2011. 625,000 entries (18%) were one-day
visitors, an increase of 15%: of these 235,000 came on cruise ships, a
similar number to 2011.

2. Tourism by Country of Origin (visitors, including day visitors – not
including cruise ships)

As in previous years, tourism from the USA continued to represent the
largest country of origin for incoming tourism to Israel, with 610,000
visitors arriving in 2012, (representing 18% of all incoming tourism), a
decrease of 4% compared to 2011. In second place and with a very small
margin is tourism from Russia with 590,000 visitors, 20% more than 2011.
Tourism from France takes third place, with about 300,000 visitors (similar
to last year), followed by Germany (230,000; 4% more than 2011) and the
United Kingdom with 208,000 visitors each, 6% less than 2011. Other
countries worthy of note: Italy with 170,000 visitors, 12% more than last
year; Ukraine with 140,000 visitors, a 2% increase compared to 2011;
Poland, 103,000 visitors, 7% more than last year; , 72,000 visitors from
Canada (6% down on last year) and 58,000 from Spain (3% increase on 2011).

3. Leading Countries of Origin (tourists, excluding day and cruise
visitors):
In first place, USA with 580,000 tourists, similar to last year. In second
place and with a wide margin, Russia with 380,000, 8% more than last year.
In third place, France with 261,000, (3% less than 2011). In fourth place,
UK with 165,000 followed by Germany with 159,000, Italy with 128,000,
Ukraine with 110,000, Canada with 65,000, Poland with 60,000, and Spain
with 51,000 tourists.

4. Tourism to Israel: Characteristics
- 58% of incoming tourism was Christian tourism (about half of which is
Catholic), 23% Jewish tourism, with the remaining of other religious
denominations or non affiliated.
- 62% of tourists were first time visitors, and 38% returning visitors.
- 29% defined their visit as part of a pilgrimage, 24% as tour and
travel, 9% as vacation and leisure. Overall, 62% defined their visit for
tourism purposes, 20% visited friends or relatives and 12% came for business
or to attend conventions.
- 75% of tourists stayed in hotels, 16% stayed with friends or relatives
and 5% stayed at youth hostels or religious hostels. The remaining tourists
stayed in rented or owned apartments.

5. Sites/Cities Visited
Jerusalem is the city most visited by incoming tourists in Israel, (77% of
all tourists). Tel Aviv-Jaffa holds second place with 56% of all tourists
having visited and in third place, the Dead Sea area with 51%. Tiberias
holds fourth place with 44% of all tourists followed by Nazareth with 35%.

The most visited sites include the Western Wall (65%), the Jewish Quarter in
Jerusalem (64%), the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (58%) and the Via Dolorosa
(58%) and the Mount of Olives (56%).

6. Tourist Satisfaction
The satisfaction level of tourists visiting Israel in 2012 was very good to
excellent (4.2 out of 5 – excellent). Services that also received a high
rating included: archeological sites and tour guides (4.2); personal
security (4.0), the beaches and sea (3.8) and airport facilities (3.8).
Among those services which did not rate so highly: cleanliness in public
spaces (3.4); tax-free shopping (3.4), taxis (3.2) and value for money
(3.1). The ratings registered an improvement compared to the 2011
satisfaction survey.

NB Points 4-6 refer to data, Jan-June 2012, Incoming Tourism Survey

7. Hotels
During 2012, 340 hotels operated in Israel with a total of about 47,900
rooms. 70 hotels with 9,300 rooms operated in Jerusalem, 50 hotels with
11,000 rooms in Eilat, 53 hotels with 6,800 rooms in the Tel Aviv area, 15
hotels in the Dead Sea area with over 4,000 rooms and 47 hotels with 6,300
rooms in the Tiberias and Sea of Galilee area.

22 million bed nights were registered in these hotels through 2012, a slight
increase on 2011. About 44% of these were from incoming tourists (9.7
million bed nights, 3% less than 2011). Since 2008, there has been a trend
in tourist bed nights away from tourist hotels into other accommodation
(youth hostels, Christian hostels and privately-owned/rented apartments).
About 12 million bed nights (64% of the total) was from Israelis, an
increase of 4% on 2011.

8. Domestic Tourism

About 16.5 million domestic overnight stays were registered in 2012 in all
the various types of accommodation, 3% more than last year. There was an
increase of 4% in hotel stays, 2% in youth hostels and ˝% in rural tourism
and there was a decrease in stays in field schools.

It should be noted that there was a slight decrease in the numbers of
Israelis traveling overseas in 2012 as compared to 2011. Of those Israelis
who traveled by air overseas, there was no change over last year, and a
decrease of 10% in travel by land (to Egypt and Jordan). This decrease was
in large part due to the 24% decrease in Israelis traveling to Egypt.

9. Tourism's contribution to the Israeli economy
Revenue from incoming tourism in 2012 (including the income of the Israeli
aviation companies from inbound tourism) totals about $4.6 billion or 17.8
billion NIS (an increase of 8% - largely due to the increase in the dollar
rate). Revenue from domestic tourism in 2012 totals about 10.3 billion NIS
(3% more than in 2011), and another 8 billion NIS in revenue from outbound
tourism – similar to 2011. Total revenue from tourism in 2012 is estimated
at about 36 billion NIS, 4% more than in 2011.

Employees in tourism
The number of employees in the Israeli economy as a result of tourism
activities stands at 105,000 in 2012, approximately one third of whom are
employed in hotels. The total number of employees related to the tourism
industry (direct and indirect) stands at about 209,000, 7.8% of all
employees in Israel.

Sources, tables and graphs: Ministry of Tourism Statistics Department

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