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Israeli tourism reaching pre-pandemic levels

Israel-based tour guides draw visitors to the Promised Land; hotels and tourist sites at capacity as COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past

Tourists enjoy a sunny day on the Kalya beach at the Dead Sea, August 4, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel’s tourism sector is rebounding after virtually being wiped out by incoming-travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism released a report showing that tourism to Israel is growing and only 22% lower than its 2019 record peak. 

The government recorded 249,500 tourist visits to Israel in July alone, compared to 49,200 a year prior and 6,000 in July 2020. July 2019 saw visits topping a record 322,800. 

Israeli Minister of Tourism Yoel Razvozov called the report a ”positive trend,” with figures expected to remain high in August. 

Razvozov noted that the three-day battle with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Gaza two weeks ago was not expected “to impact the hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting Israel this month.”

“They continue to enjoy our beautiful and unique country, with its varied religious, cultural and historical sites and a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene,” Razvozov said.

This upward trend for tourism is a good sign for Israel’s tour guides, who were out of work for much of the last two years. Where some tour guides turned to alternative work, others invested their time in “local tourism” for Israelis, while others remained jobless. 

Geoff Winston, programs director and tour educator at the Israel-based Keshet Educational Journeys, is already experiencing the positive effects of the return of tourism to Israel. 

“I have been pounded with inquiries and know my colleagues have as well,” Winston said. “Even today I got two or three inquiries about the next two or three weeks.” 

Winston said that the increase in demand for tours has caused several of his company’s groups to double in size to make up for the time lost during the pandemic. 

“Hotels are at capacity; [tourist] sites are at capacity,” he said. “It is amazing to see.”

Read more: TOURISM

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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