The Jerusalem Post predicts that Israel’s tourism industry will continue to suffer setbacks in 2024, amid the huge doubts and obstacles brought about by the post-war period.
In 2023, the Israeli tourism industry experienced an unusual season, with significant growth rates and an even greater recovery, but the process “al aqsa floods“The attack on Israeli-occupied territory by the Palestinian resistance movement led by the Qassam Brigades on October 7 last year, and the subsequent Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, had a traumatic impact on Israeli tourism for the remainder of the last year and the current year. .
Tourism industry testimonials Israel Growth and performance were exceptional throughout 2023, with the country receiving approximately 3.01 million tourists, injecting $4.85 billion into the Israeli economy.
Despite the outbreak of war in October, U.S. tourism surged by 10% in the period leading up to the outbreak, solidifying its position as Israel's largest source of tourists.
The newspaper cited a statement from Tourism Minister Haim Katz, in which he expressed confidence in the future of the industry, noting that “record growth in tourism from the United States between January 2023 and the outbreak of the war consolidated development of tourism”. Its status as a major source of tourism in Israel. ” Katz stressed that efforts will continue to strengthen the necessary infrastructure to ensure a quick and effective response to the post-war era to revitalize the economy and contribute to national recovery and growth.
Despite these achievements, Israel's tourism industry came to a bitter end in 2023, welcoming 52,000 tourists in December alone, bringing the total for 2023 to over 3 million, although figures showed an increase of 12.5 % Compared with the previous year, 2019, when the number of inbound tourists hit a record high, also dropped significantly by 34%.
Expectations are high for 2023, with indications that some 3.9 million tourists will arrive in Israel, approaching the record number set in 2019. But according to the newspaper, external factors, such as the Israeli war… Gaza The war between Russia and Ukraine and restrictions on Chinese tourism have led to a decline in the number of tourists from these countries.
The Jerusalem Post quoted an inbound tourism survey conducted by the Ministry of Tourism as showing important changes and trends. 30% of tourists choose to travel in a group, while 70% choose to travel independently. The study highlights a shift in the purpose of visits, with 36% visiting for tourist and sightseeing purposes, 20% for religious purposes and 30% on organized tours.
Inbound tourism revenue is expected to be approximately US$4.85 billion in 2023, up from US$4.29 billion in 2022. The average tourist spend, excluding airfare, is approximately 6,000 shekels ($1,607), and the average stay is 8.3 nights.
2023 is about to pass, and the post-war Israeli tourism industry faces a future full of challenges and uncertainty. Mark Feldman, CEO of Ziontours in Jerusalem, spelled out the current state of the industry in an interview with the newspaper, warning against over-optimism until the war is over and foreign airlines resume flights to Israel.
“While we appreciate the industry's optimism and confidence, the reality remains grim until foreign airlines resume business with Israel after the war,” Feldman said, stressing the lack of interest from groups or individuals in visiting Israel and the current There is also a lack of activity at the airport. Gurion Airport. This situation is exacerbated by the absence of cruise lines.
In an interview with the newspaper, Feldman also pointed to immediate challenges facing the industry, with hotels currently hosting displaced people from the north of the country without a clear timetable for their return home. Even if vacancies arise, hotels expect it will take some time to upgrade facilities to meet tourist demand.
While the structure of the travel industry is not a major barrier, Feldman stressed the need to provide reasonable expectations. “After the war, we will see a gradual increase in tourist numbers, but the recovery will be slow,” he said, warning that a recovery process and a gradual reset of the tourism structure would be needed.