2017 Marked All-Time Record for Tourism As More Americans Visit Israel Than Ever Before

The many peoples and the multitude of nations shall come to seek God of Hosts in Yerushalayim and to entreat the favor of Hashem.” Zechariah 8:22 (The Israel Bible™)

While the world focused on Jerusalem, with many countries trying to deny the sanctity of Jerusalem,  so many more were drawn to Israel, to see for themselves the blossoming of the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin with Chinese tourists in the Old City of Jerusalem ( Photo Courtesy, Israel Tourism Ministry)

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin released a statement, reporting a massive rise in tourism over the past year.

“The year 2017 was a historic turning point for incoming tourism to Israel,” Levin stated. “More than 3.6 million tourists arrived here during the year, an increase of 700,000 tourists on last year. This is, of course, an all-time record – we have never before crossed the 3-million-tourist threshold. This is a direct outcome of an all-encompassing revolution in marketing policy that we have implemented over the last two years: principally, adopting an innovative marketing strategy, offering incentives to airlines to open new routes with significant incoming tourism potential and collaborations that have been created for the first time with the largest online travel agents in the world. The revolution in tourism in 2017 has made a huge contribution to Israel’s economy. For the first time, revenue from incoming tourism passed the NIS 20 billion ($5.8 billion) threshold, while creating about 25,000 new jobs.”

This remarkable phenomenon seems to be the materialization of the prophecy in Zechariah.

“Thus said God of Hosts: Peoples and the inhabitants of many cities shall yet come—the inhabitants of one shall go to the other and say, “Let us go and entreat the favor of Hashem, let us seek God of Hosts; I will go, too.” The many peoples and the multitude of nations shall come to seek God of Hosts in Yerushalayim and to entreat the favor of Hashem. Zechariah 8:20-22

 According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the final tourism statistics for 2017 are as follows: 3,611,800 million tourist entries were recorded, representing a 25 percent increase over 2016 and 29 percent over 2015.  290,000 tourist entries were recorded in December 2017, about 17 percent more than December 2016 and 47 percent more than December 2015. There were about 308,000 visitor entries in December (including day visitors).

The United States remains the largest source country for incoming tourists, with 778,800 tourist entries in 2017, 20 percent more than 2016. The second largest source country is Russia (331,500), France (308,600), Germany (218,100) and the UK (198,500).

The largest increase in incoming tourism in 2017 took place in the two countries where the Tourism Ministry invested considerably in marketing – Poland (89 percent increase) and China (45 percent). There was also a 33 percent increase in tourism from Germany, another country where the ministry has concentrated significant marketing investment.