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Israel Claims It Is Safe For Tourists

by | Thu, Feb 22 2024

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Israel’s Tourism Minister Haim Katz is in the United States, delivering a message that his country is once again safe for tourists despite the ongoing war in Gaza.

One of his main venues to promote his Israel tourism campaign is this week’s National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Nashville which is being attended by more than 4,000 delegates. It’s the world’s largest event for Christian media professionals.

Mr. Katz is meeting leading Christian networks and travel organisations to encourage believers to visit Israel. They include marketing and media companies that specialise in the Christian world, including TBN, the largest religious television network in the US, and the Salem Media Group, a radio broadcaster, internet content provider and magazine and book publisher. He is also holding talks with the Internova Travel Group and the United States Tour Operators Association.

He told the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) he is emphasising that the safety of tourists remains a top priority and that most Christian sites in Israel are operating as usual despite the ongoing war. “The year 2024 will be characterised by faith-based and solidarity tourism. The NRB convention is a key event to garner support and promote travel to Israel,” the minister said.

“The American market is the largest source market for Israel, with the highest figures for incoming tourism and very significant for the Israeli economy. Demand from the US is at a peak. We must maintain the momentum, and especially in light of the war, encourage as much as possible tourism to Israel,” he added.

More than a third of all tourists to Israel are traditionally Americans, with more than half of them Christians. The Jerusalem Post reports the number of Evangelical tour groups on solidarity missions has surged since December, but overall, the war against Hamas continues to take a heavy toll on Israel’s tourism industry.

There were only 59,000 tourist visits in January — a 77% decrease on nearly 260,000 during the same month last year when a total of nearly three million arrived before the October attacks. In 2019, Israel enjoyed a record-breaking year with 4.5 million tourists.