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January 14, 2014 8:26 am

Jerusalem Most Visited City in Israel in 2013

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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A view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Berthold Werner.

Approximately 3.54 million tourists traveled to Israel in 2013, half a percent more than the previous record set in 2012, according to a report by Israel’s Tourism Ministry. Jerusalem was the most popular city to visit , with 75 percent of all incoming tourist traffic visiting the capital. Tel Aviv held second place (64%) and the Dead Sea came in third place (51%). Tiberias and Nazareth were the fourth (44%) and fifth (35%) most visited cities respectively.

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau noted that 2013 was a record year for tourism. “Despite Operation Pillar of Defense and the security situation in the region, tourists voted with their feet.”

In Jerusalem, the most visited site was the Western Wall, followed by the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa, and the Mount of Olives.

More than half of the incoming tourists (53%) were Christian, with half of those identifying as Catholic. Approximately 28 percent were Jewish. The lead county for incoming tourists was the United States, with 623,000 visitors in 2013. The second highest was Russia, with 603,000 visitors – a slight increase from the previous year. The number of tourists from France, Germany, and the UK was also significant, as were tourist numbers from Italy, Ukraine, and Poland.

Approximately 54 percent of the tourists were first time visitors and 46 percent were returning visitors. The satisfaction level of tourists visiting Israel in 2013 was very good to excellent according to surveys.

Domestic tourism also experienced a rise, with three percent more than last year.

According to Tourism Minister Landau, the ministry will continue to invest in maintaining the number of tourists arriving in Israel by opening new markets and actively marketing tourism around the world in 2014.

Israel’s total revenue from tourism in 2013 is estimated at 40 billion NIS, including both domestic and incoming tourists.

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