Jerusalem Post headline: Tourism drops 4.5% in ’06. For all those who have recently asked me about tourism in Israel, the short answer is, it’s down. If that isn’t enough information for you, please read the article here.
For those not interested in all the details, here’s the thumbnail: In 2006, 1.8 million foreign tourists entered the country, 4.5% fewer than entered in 2005.
The article doesn’t indicate if that number reflects unique passports, or total entries by foreigners. For example, I entered the country 3 times during the year on the same passport: twice from Jordan and once on a flight from the United States. So, maybe I was counted once, or I might have been counted three times. If the latter, then the number of visitors might be dramatically lower and more disappointing.
The largest number of visitors (494,000) came from the United States, which was followed by France (252,000) and Germany (87,000). The origin of the remaining 967,000 visitors is unclear.
If you think 1.8 million is a lot of tourists, consider that the officially published number of tourists to Czech Republic is 6.3 million people, 3.5 times the number of visitors to Israel.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot in my heart for Czech Republic: I proposed to Colleen on the Charles Bridge in Prague. But really, a trip to Israel can dramatically change the way you read your Bible. Book a trip and visit the Holy Land!