It’s been a very good year for nation of Israel — and the United States of America had a lot to do with it.
According to the business magazine Globes, tourism to the Middle Eastern democracy reached a record high in 2017, with a dramatic increase since the previous year. The booming tourism industry has brought an estimated 20 billion Israeli shekels to the country… the equivalent of around $5.7 billion dollars.
“The country from which the largest number of tourists to Israel come is the US – over 700,000 tourists, 21% more than in 2016,” Globes reported.
There are of course many factors that affect tourism, but it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to consider that President Donald Trump’s openly pro-Israel statements and policies might have boosted visits from America.
Most famously, Trump recently announced that after decades of empty promises from other presidents, his administration would recognize Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel, and move the American embassy to that city.
The president’s move was maligned by the media and many nations in the U.N., but Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley stayed firm in their decision. If the rising visitor numbers are any indication, a vast number of the American people support the choice and Israel as a whole.
Marketing no doubt played a role as well. Government officials have expanded their promotion of the country as a destination that goes far beyond its rich history and religious sites.
“The all-time record number of tourists visiting Israel this year is no accident; it is the result of a clear policy. The actions taken by my ministry since I took up my position have brought Israel an unprecedented peak in incoming tourism,” stated Yariv Levin, Israel’s Minister of Tourism.
“The Ministry of Tourism did not confine its advertising to the pilgrimage market, as it did for many years; it also marketed other aspects of Israel, such as night life, culinary aspects, and sports,” Globes reported.
The majority of tourists during 2017 had not been to Israel before, and many of the visitors chose to travel independently.
“59% of the tourists who visited Israel this year came for the first time. 25% described the purpose of their visit as religious, meaning a pilgrimage, 23% as touring and hiking, and 10% as entertainment and enjoyment,” explained the business magazine.
“30% of the tourists came on organized trips and 64% independently, while 6% purchased tourist packages.”
That’s all good news for the country’s economy and job market… and it also flies in the face of liberal narratives that paint Israel as unpopular among Americans and other nations.
After eight years of an Obama presidency that seemed to dislike Israel and its people, it’s rather refreshing to see one of the U.S.’s close allies — and one of the Middle East’s only open democracies — rising in prosperity.
2017 was a good year for both America and its friends around the world. Hopefully, 2018 will be even better.
H/T Breitbart News
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