“The rise in tourist numbers would be even more impressive if an ‘open skies’ policy were implemented,” says Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson. “The ministry’s encouragement of charter flights and [its] overseas marketing campaign are working.”
According to CBS and Ministry of Tourism statistics, 91,400 tourists entered Israel from the U.S. in the first quarter of 2005, a 25% increase over the same period last year. A 9% rise was indicated in the arrival of 32,600 from Britain.
Other increases were registered from Germany (22,000 tourists, a 47% rise), France (58,000 tourists, a 25% rise), and Italy (11,300 tourists, a 42% increase). Ten thousand Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish visitors entered Israel, jumping 31%; 8,100 tourists entered the country from Korea, 25% more than 2004 and 58% more than 2000. Thanks to the resumption of charter flights and an agreement between the Ministry of Tourism and tourism operator Genesis, the number of tourists from Portugal leaped 114%.
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