The February figure of 222,000 tourists was 46% up compared with February 2009
Figures published last week by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicate growth trend in incoming tourism to Israel.
222,000tourists arrived in February, the highest single-month total in Israel's history. The February figure was 46% up compared with February 2009 (which had been affected by Operation Cast Lead and the economic crisis), 12% more than February 2008 and 4% more than February 2000.
About 178,000 visitors stayed at least one night in Israel, an increase of 28% over February 2009 and 3% on February 2008. 43,900 visitors stayed only for a day, including 13,200 on cruise ships, three times more than the same month last year.
In the first two months of 2010, 434,300 tourists have visited Israel. 283,400 visited in the corresponding period of 2009.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov warned last week about the anticipated lack of hotel rooms in the near future due to the continuing growth in incoming tourism.
Misezhnikov noted that "The incoming tourism data of the last months are encouraging and prove that the Tourism Ministry's marketing tactics are bearing fruit,". "Nevertheless, I call on entrepreneurs and hotel owners to employ the Tourism Ministry's support mechanisms in order to build new hotels and re-launch hotels which are no longer operational. A lack of hotel rooms in the future will hurt the ability to welcome tourists in Israel and will cause a loss of millions to the state."
Tourism Minister Misezhnikov issued press release last week noting that tourism Committee of the OECD agreed to meet, for the first time, in Israel in October. Misezhnikov's announcement was made during the international tourism conference ITB Berlin, heldfrom10-14 March 2010 on the fairgrounds of Messe Berlin.
ITB Berlin is known as the largest combination of trade exhibition, public exhibition and the biggest professional tourism convention worldwide which attracts tens of thousands of visitors, exhibitors and media representatives every year.