(JNS.org) The Israeli Tourism Ministry announced a record number of visitors and revenue over the past year, Israel Hayom reported.
According to the ministry, 3.5 million tourists visited Israel, up 3 percent from last year, while revenue from the tourism reached $4.5 billion, up 10 percent or $500,000 from last year. The greatest growth came from the record number of cruise ship visitors, which increased 24 percent.
The record increase comes despite rising violence and uncertainty in the region due to the Arab Spring uprisings and global recession. “Against the background of the geopolitical challenges and the global economic crisis, the achievements are even greater,” Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said.
As a result of the record growth the Tourism Ministry has allocated grants for the construction of 18 new hotels in Israel, which will add 2,119 rooms throughout the country.
More than 300,000 tourists are expected to visit Israel during the upcoming Jewish holidays.