Number of tourists to Israel at record in 2018, exceeds 4 million

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A record 4.12 tourists visited Israel in 2018, up 14 percent over 2017 and adding $5.8 billion to state coffers, government figures showed on Sunday.

It was the first time the annual number of tourists topped 4 million and the Tourism Ministry said it stemmed from a change in the way Israel is marketed around the world as a tourist destination.

“We are optimistic about 2019 that begins with the opening of the new international airport … that will enable us to continue bringing new flights to Eilat,” Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi said.

The new Ramon Airport near the southern resort of Eilat is slated to open later in January and officials hope that will boost tourism further.

The leading source of incoming tourism to Israel last year was the United States at 897,100, followed by France, Russia, Germany, the UK and Italy.

JERUSALEM (Reuters)

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