The Israel Ministry of Tourism has recently announced new record-breaking tourist arrivals from the United States visiting Israel in the months of July and August.
Israel welcomed a total of 81,800 travelers from the United States in July 2022, which is a 4% increase from 2019, and around 71,000 visitors from the United States in August 2022, a 13% increase from 2019. Not lagging far behind the US, Canada is also on track to exceed its tourist arrivals, reaching 7,200 travelers in July 2022 and 6,000 in August.
The United States is Israel’s top market for inbound tourism. Even before Covid-19, the country was celebrating record-breaking tourist entry numbers month after month. Back in 2019, Israel welcomed more than 4.5 millions global tourists, 969,600 of which were from the United States. Since officially reopening its borders to all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, back in May of this year, the country has already seen more than 600,400 US travelers alone.
This positive shift post-pandemic is exciting for the tourism industry, and a continued upward trajectory is expected for the months and years to come. So, what is it that makes Israel such a popular destination?
Reading the headlines, it can often be interpreted that Israel is a dangerous place to visit. Invasions and political turmoil have been the norm there for an incredibly long time, with different faiths struggling over the Holy Land. More recently, terrorism within the country has flooded the news. However, while armed soldiers may be a common sight and there are still many issues not resolved, Israel, overall, remains a safe place to visit.
From the Bible to the Crusaders and the Ottoman Empire, the land on which today’s Israel was founded has seen it all. Jerusalem, Jaffa and Lod are among the oldest cities in the world, as old as history itself. With everything from the Western Wall to the fortress city of Akko, Israel offers history within the comfort of the modern world like no other country can.
It isn’t just the historical treasures of the country that bring in the crowds. From the shores of Tel Aviv, the cosmopolitan heart of Israel, to the cliffs of Acre in the North, almost all of the Israeli coastline is stunning and easily accessible. The landscape is very diverse there, and the country offers visitors many great outdoor recreational activities. The Dead Sea, the salt lake between Israel and Jordan, where people love to experience the ability to float effortlessly, also pulls in visitors.
While it is safe to visit Israel, just like in any other place in the world, there are some cultural differences and things that may seem completely normal to tourists but could be taken as an insult in Israel. Dressing modestly in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza is advised, and public displays of affection, regardless of gender or sexuality, can attract negative attention. Penalties for things like smuggling and trafficking are severe, and even things like gambling, including online casino games, are illegal, so it is always worth reading up on the local laws and customs before visiting Israel.
You can certainly see why Israel is such a popular destination for people from all over the world. From its religious importance and colorful history to its landscape and people, Israel is a country that offers so much to so many people, and one that retains its uniqueness along the way.