The fall, driven by the global economic downturn, marked the first full-year decline in tourism to Israel since 2002, when it dropped almost 30%
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics 2.32 million tourists visited Israel in 2009 - down 9.7% than in 2008, (2.57 million). The number of foreign tourists is second highest-ever figure for incoming tourism and the first drop since 2002.
The fall, driven by the global economic downturn, marked the first full-year decline in tourism to Israel since 2002, when it dropped almost 30% due to Israeli-Palestinian violence.
The 2009 decline masked an upswing in recent months, however, with December posting 194,400 visitors, up from 179,600 in the same month of 2008.
Of the 2009 figure, 417,000 tourists were one-day visitors who did not stay overnight in the country.
The Central Bureau of Statistics also noted that there were 4 million trips abroad by Israelis last year, 5% down from 2008 when there were 4.2 million trips abroad. However, in December 2009, 246,000 Israelis traveled abroad compared with 243,000 in December 2008.