Israel’s tourism industry set a major milestone as the country welcomed its one millionth tourist since the final end of its Covid related closures. Israel formally reopened for business – the tourism business – about four months ago after repeatedly barring foreign tourists from entering due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Israel’s Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov personally welcomed the one millionth tourist – Belinda Desoyo Lee Marcelo, 53. In another milestone, the tourist is actually a resident of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Such tourism from the UAE only became possible when, during the height of the Covid crisis in the summer of 2020, Israel entered into the Abraham Accords peace agreements with the two Arab Gulf States of Bahrain and the UAE.
As with every country in the world, Israel’s tourism industry was badly affected by the pandemic. And Israel is a country that depends on foreign tourism to keep the local economy going.
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The Ministry of Tourism, however, says that the current recovery in incoming tourism is now exceeding forecasts. The number of incoming tourists is increasing, and with it, income from tourism into the Israeli economy. According to the statistics just released, incoming tourism reached 244,500 tourist entries in June 2022, just 33% less than the record set in June 2019. Based on the recovery trend in incoming tourism, it is expected that up to 2 million tourists will arrive in Israel by the end of 2022.
Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said on the occasion of the arrival of the one millionth tourist at Ben Gurion airport, “At first, we thought and hoped that the President of the United States Joe Biden would be the millionth tourist to arrive in Israel in 2022, but once again, we have beaten the forecast. Here we are, welcoming the millionth tourist to enter Israel this year.”
President Biden is due to land in Israel on Wednesday.
Minister Razvozov declared, “Now we look forward to the objective I have set for the industry: 10 million tourists in 2030.”