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On the rise, Israeli tourism is slowly recovering its pre-COVID tourism numbers

More than 207,000 tourists visited Israel in April – a step-in the right direction but 50% less than pre-pandemic times

Bishop Louis Zarama leads the first major group of American Catholic tourists since the COVID-19 travel restrictions, at the ancient town of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, Feb. 6, 2022. (Photo: Michael Giladi/Flash90)

After Israel opened its skies to all tourists, vaccinated and unvaccinated, on March 1, the number of tourists visiting Israel has been on the rise each month.

In fact, over the last three months alone, from February to April, an average of 166,300 visits were recorded per month, an increase of 21.6% compared to the three months preceding them, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

This is an impressive recovery.

Following a nearly two-year period of closed borders and lockdowns due to Israel's COVID policies, in January, approximately 46,700 tourists came to Israel and, a month later, the number almost doubled to 90,400.

Once Israel removed remaining restrictions in March, the number increased to 168,900 visitors. 

According to Israel Travel News, CBS reported that roughly 216,400 arrivals were recorded in April, of which the large majority – 207,400 – were tourists. This is the highest number of arrivals since the COVID outbreak began in Israel, but still represents about half the number when compared to April 2019, just before COVID.

For further comparison, during April 2019, there were 428,100 arrivals, of which 404,900 were tourists.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has recently taken steps to assist the recovery of Israel’s tourism industry, which suffered a major blow during the COVID crisis due to the government’s decision to shutter the borders. This month, the Ministry set up an Israel Pavilion at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The ATM is one of the largest tourism fairs in the Middle East. The Israel Pavilion featured 17 Israeli companies representing tour operators, major hotel chains and travel associations, all with the goal of promoting Israel as a tourist destination to influential buyers and industry trade partners.

Israel’s participation in the event was another sign of improving ties with its Gulf allies since the Abraham Accords normalization agreements were signed in September 2020. The accords have led to mutually beneficial opportunities across many sectors, including tourism.

Israelis are also traveling abroad again in force. Some 1.2 million Israeli departures to overseas locations during March and April were recorded – only moderately lower than the 1.4 million during the same period in 2019.

Of those departures over the last two months, 685,600 – roughly 57% – took place in April during the Passover holiday break. 

Overall, from February through April, outbound travel increased by 13% per month on average. During the three preceding months – November through January, when the skies were still closed to tourists – departures increased by an average 17.1% per month.

Read more: TOURISM

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

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