Tourism and travel in Israel
The number of tourists arriving in Israel, which resides in the heart of the Middle East, is steadily increasing from year to year in light of the multitude of sites and attractions, and being one of the world's most developed countries with a well-developed infrastructure of hotels, transportation, health and high personal safety, is not obvious in the Middle East in the year 2015.
About sixty percent of the tourists who come to Israel as independent travelers, about thirty percent as part of an organized group and another ten percent purchase tour packages in the country and are not part of an organized group.
Over seventy percent of the tourists who come to Israel arrive via flight, others come to Israel for a short time as part of cruise along the Mediterranean or the Red Sea, and some come to Israel through land border crossings with Egypt and Jordan, countries which Israel has peaceful relations with.
A significant percentage of tourists who come to Israel nowadays come from the US (18 percent), in second place - Russia (17 percent), third place - France (9 percent) and others come mainly from: Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Ukraine, Poland, Canada, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, Brazil and countries in Asia and Oceania.
Most tourists land at the Ben Gurion Airport which is located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Some choose to go directly to the hot resort town of Eilat on the southern tip of Israel, especially during the winter season. Most of the tourists who chose to do so come from cold European countries.
Most of the tourists stay in Israel an average of nine nights and prefer to stay in hotels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, Tiberias, the Dead Sea, Netanya, Haifa and kibbutz guest houses.
About ten percent of the tourists come to Israel for the purposes of vacation and rest, and stay mainly in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat, about a quarter come to Israel for purposes of touring and sightseeing in the many tourist attractions offered by Israel's archaeological and historical sites, beaches, nature preserves, museums, markets and attractions such as canoeing, cycling and even skydiving.
The most popular cities to visit in Israel are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv - Jaffa, Eilat and Haifa, and the popular tourist attractions are: Masada, the Safari in Ramat Gan, ancient Caesarea, Banias springs, the Ein Gedi oasis, the underwater observatory in Eilat, the Yamit 2000 water park in Tel Aviv, Hamat Gader hot baths and caves of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
About a quarter of the tourists come to Israel to visit relatives and friends, many of them are Jews who have relatives in Israel. These tourists combine visits to some of the Jewish heritage tourist sites in their visits, sites such as the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, Masada, etc…
About a quarter of the tourists come to Israel for pilgrimage. The land of Israel was the birthplace of Christianity. The many pilgrims who come to Israel visit holy sites related to the life story of Jesus in the Holy Land, led by Christian sites in Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives, Christian sites in Nazareth led by the Church of the Annunciation and the Miriam Spring, and Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee: Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Cave of the Patriarchs, the baptism site in the Jordan river and more…
More tourists come to Israel for business, international conferences, most of them in science and technology, for studies and research in universities and in the framework of health tourism.
According to a survey conducted by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in 2013, the tourists rated their satisfaction from the visit in Israel (on a scale from 1 to 5) with a grade 4.3 and many of them are not satisfied with a single visit and about forty-five percent of them come to Israel for further visits.
(Source: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism, 2015)
Every year over three million tourists come to Israel. These tourists are drawn to Israel mainly because of the varied landscapes, magnificent nature reserves, world heritage sites, sites holy to the Christian world, high-quality museums, wealth of cultural events, nightlife and of course the high interest in the multicultural society that characterizes Israel.