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April 9, 2014 2:38 pm

Israel Tourism Ministry Reports First Quarter Record: 705,000 Visitors, Up 17%

avatar by Joshua Levitt

An El Al airplane, similar to the one that returned to Israel on Friday after a bird struck it's engine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An El Al airplane. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry on Wednesday reported record tourism entries for the first three months of 2014, with 705,000 tourists entering the Jewish state, up 17 percent from a year earlier.

According to a statement based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 776,000 entries, in total, in the first quarter, up 3 percent from 2013. The Tourism Ministry said 603,000 entries were by air, 15 percent more than the same period in 2013.

Tourism Ministry Director General Amir Halevi said, “Given the growth in tourism, we will turn to the Finance Ministry and request increased budgets for hotel construction, so that we are able to receive the wave of tourists that are coming to Israel. We are also working to ensure a range of accommodation options, with the establishment of camping and caravanning lots. We are also working to ensure that it no longer takes ten years to build a hotel in Israel.”

The sharp increase in international visitors offset declines in day visitors through border crossings, down 53 percent to 70,000, which includes 20,000 that came on cruise ships. On the Jordan border, there were 44,000 land entries, down 38 percent, and 6,000 entries by air, down 25 percent.

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