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US Travelers Flock to Israel, Break Pre-COVID Records

(Courtesy of Ministry of Tourism) As Israel celebrates its Diamond Jubilee this year, visitation from the United States surpasses its pre-pandemic numbers. During the first half of this year, travelers from the U.S. swelled 12% over the same period in 2019. In addition, last month visitors from the U.S. increased by 13% compared to the same month in 2019, signaling that the country once again is seeing significant growth.

“These statistics are extremely encouraging,” said Eyal Carlin, commissioner of tourism to North America. “Between March of 2020 and May of 2022, our country was closed to incoming tourism. Since we reopened and people are traveling in droves, we expect 2023 to be a banner year for Israel, especially from North America; even better than what we saw in 2019, which was our best year to date.”

June 2023, which had a 27% increase over the previous year, saw the most tourists arrive from the United States followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. These numbers don’t include day visitors or passengers arriving on cruise ships.

According to Christopher Elliott, travel expert and senior editor at Forbes, tourists to Israel in 2023 want to experience not only the well-known destinations, such as the holy sites of Jerusalem and the bustle of Tel Aviv, but places many aren’t all that familiar with, such as the Negev Desert Wine Route or scuba diving at an underwater archaeological excavation site, as well as one-of-a-kind experiences, such as a sleepover at a Bedouin camp or attending the International Jerusalem Jazz Festival at the Israel Museum.

“As a country, we are heavily investing in tourism,” added Carlin. “New hotels and resorts are helping to increase our room inventory while new food, wine and spirits destinations add to the overall excitement along with our many outdoor adventure opportunities as well as arts and culture experiences. Travelers are still arriving in Israel to experience what we’re known for—our holy and ancient sites—but they return home with their expectations exceeded as they discover some of the lesser-known destinations.”

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