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update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

American tourism to Israel sees significant boost

U.S. residents visiting in the first half of 2023 have increased 12% since the previous period in 2019.

A scuba diver swims in the Eilat Dolphin Reef. Photo by Asaf Zvuloni/Israel Nature and Parks Authority/Flash90.
A scuba diver swims in the Eilat Dolphin Reef. Photo by Asaf Zvuloni/Israel Nature and Parks Authority/Flash90.

After more than two years of sealed borders due to COVID, “people are traveling in droves, and we expect 2023 to be a banner year for Israel,” said Eyal Carlin, the Jewish state’s Commissioner of Tourism to North America.

Carlin described new statistics showing the first six months of 2023 at 12% higher than the same time in 2019 as “extremely encouraging” and pointed out that during the final full year before the pandemic “was our best” so far.

Other countries with high levels of Israeli tourism include France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.

Carlin said Israel was “heavily investing in tourism,” seeking to expand the country’s number of hotel rooms and resorts. He also mentioned “new food, wine and spirits destinations add to the overall excitement along with our many outdoor adventure opportunities as well as arts and culture experiences”

He also pointed out that while many tourists first come for the holy and ancient sites, others return to experience less well-known sites.
Forbes senior editor Christopher Elliott agreed with Carlin’s assessment. He said that while tourists want to see the religious sites, they’re also interested in wine experiences in the Galilee and Negev; meals and sleepovers at a Bedouin camp; an international jazz festival; and scuba instruction at underwater excavations.

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