JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is ahead of its record pace for tourism in a year.
Some 2.5 million tourists have visited Israel since the beginning of 2010, according to figures kept by the nation’s Central Bureau of Statistics. The figure is 9 percent more than in 2008, which was the record tourism year in Israel, and a 27 percent increase over the same period last year.
According to the bureau, 22,300 tourists visited Israel on cruise ships, double the number visiting in September 2009 and three times more than in 2008.
Israel’s Tourism Ministry is investing more than $19 million until the end of 2010 on marketing Israel as a travel destination.
"New countries and new target audiences are expressing an interest in visiting Israel and see it as an attractive tourism destination," Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said. "In the next year, the Tourism Ministry will work to challenge these new target audiences including, for the first time, Moslem groups to visit Israel.”