The number of tourists IN iSRAEL reached ABOUT 70% of their number before the CORONA crisis


by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Sep 19, 2022

The approaching holidays mark not only the massive departure of Israelis abroad, but also the arrival of tourists who return to flood the streets of the cities. However, despite a considerable recovery in the arrival of tourists, the inbound tourism industry reports that they are still not arriving here in the numbers they were before the corona virus - while Israelis are flocking abroad in droves, and the figures are already equaling, and even surpassing, the numbers before the crisis.
The number of tourists reaches 60%-70% of their number before the crisis. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, last August, for example, there were 247,000 visitor arrivals to Israel - compared to 324,000 who arrived in 2019. According to estimates, the figures will be similar during the upcoming Tishrei holidays as well.

Tourism during the Tishrei holidays is mainly family and Jewish. Israelis who live abroad and return to spend the holidays with their families, and Jews from abroad, mostly from the US and Western Europe, who wish to spend the holidays in the Holy Land and stay mainly in the Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Dead Sea areas.
"Unlike many areas that have indeed returned to normal, inbound tourism we have not yet returned to the 2019 figures," says Yossi Fatal, CEO of the Bureau of Inbound Tourism Organizers to Israel. "I estimate that this year we will reach 60% compared to the period before the crisis. The work has changed a lot - the type of tourists has changed and Israel is still having trouble providing the general experience that a tourist is looking for."
Guy Har-Nir, Chief Operating Officer of "Kens Tourism" from the Ista Group, sees things in a similar way. "These are still not the figures before the crisis. There is a change in tourism and we still don't know if it is long-term, or something temporary that happens due to the movement of the pendulum in the post-Covid era."
The main changes that are being talked about in inbound tourism are due to the impact of the Corona crisis, which is still evident in the world and is expressed, among other things, in the planning of shorter-term trips and less busy groups; Of the many disruptions - the re-opening of the aviation and tourism fields is characterized by an acute shortage of manpower that leads to congestion at the airports, cancellations and postponements of flights, lost luggage, problems with customer service in hotels and the operation of tourist attractions; and the disappearance of the many tourists from Russia and Ukraine following the war between them.
To all of these we have to add another essential factor, which is not new, but it seems that its influence on incoming tourism has increased. This refers to the cost of living in Israel, which is one of the highest in the world - and probably one of the reasons why Israelis vacation abroad and tourists hesitate to come here, unless they have an affinity for Israel.
"The motivation to come here is more complex than coming to London or Paris," explains Har-Nir. "In the first place, the tourism that comes here revolves a lot around religion, culture and history - whether you are Jewish or Christian. The tourism infrastructure in Israel is still far from what it was before the corona, which is problematic. The classic tourists hesitate to come here - if you take into account the trolling of flight cancellations, a problematic service in a hotel and high prices. Most single tourists and families will prefer a familiar vacation destination, such as Paris or Rome, and will not really come here for a pleasure vacation."
Fatal says that the cost of living is a significant barrier to bringing tourists back. "Israel is charging prices for which it is supposed to provide something that it has difficulty providing. In the post-corona era, tourists expect to receive on their trip, in addition to the cleanliness of the room, also an experience with cultural-spiritual dimensions, and we are in a dilemma how to meet this need."
According to him, during the coming holiday period the data will be good, because this is a relatively familiar audience - and the big question is what will happen after the holidays: "Israeli holidays bring mainly Jewish tourists and family visits. The question is what will happen after that - in November-December there is Thanksgiving and Christmas, And we wonder what the traffic will be like then.
"On the one hand, you have to remember that there are no tourists from Russia and Ukraine because of the war, and in Europe there is talk of a deep recession. On the other hand, the businessmen are back in action, there are the pilgrim groups who want to come, and Israel is also a good winter destination for Europeans because of the weather."



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