Four months after lifting COVID-related restrictions that conditioned entry into Israel, Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov personally welcomed the country’s millionth tourist of the year.
“We thought that the president of the United States, Joe Biden, would be the millionth tourist but, once again, we have beaten the forecast,” Razvozov said at Ben-Gurion International Airport on July 10.
Razvozov and other Ministry of Tourism representatives were present to give a special welcome to 53-year-old Belinda Desoyo Lee Marcelo, a resident of the United Arab Emirates.
Although the tourism industry in Israel was affected badly by the pandemic lockdowns, it has begun a speedy recovery with increasing numbers of incoming tourists, bringing much needed financial relief to the Israeli economy.
The latest statistics report that tourist entries into Israel reached 244,500 in June alone, just 33% less than the pre-pandemic record set in June 2019. If this trend continues and nothing impedes the fall’s holy days, tourism is forecasted to reach as many as 2 million tourists by the end of the year.
"Last year, our skies were closed. There were corona restrictions in place with new variants emerging and serious concerns about incoming tourism. Despite the situation, we did not give up, at any stage,” Razvozov said Sunday.
“We worked hard to open up the industry and we brought the tourism industry back to life in spite of the challenges,” he stated. "To my joy, in contrast to all the pessimistic forecasts, we can see today that tourism has returned to Israel.”
“A million tourists inject money into the Israeli economy, create job opportunities throughout the country and provide a livelihood for whole families. Now we look forward to the objective I have set for the industry: 10 million tourists in 2030,” he said.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.