Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tourism in Israel grew in 2023, but slumped after start of war

January 4, 2024 at 5:26 pm

A view of Western (Wailing) Wall as the city streets, alleys and common touristic places remain empty due to Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Old City of Jerusalem on October 23, 2023. [Vincenzo Circosta – Anadolu Agency]

The number of tourists visiting Israel rose in 2023 compared with 2022, although it plunged in October after war broke out between Israel and Hamas and remained low for the rest of the year, the Israeli Tourism Ministry said on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Up until October, the tourism industry was recovering from the collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the 7 October attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel the number of foreign visitors dropped suddenly.

Overall in 2023, 3 million tourists entered Israel, up from 2.7 million in 2022. December was the worst month of the year with just 52,800 tourists, while the number was above 300,000 per month for several months earlier in the year.

Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 people in southern Israel on 7 October and took 240 hostage, according to Israeli authorities. Israel responded with a bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 22,000 people, according to health officials there.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

READ: Israel dropped 65,000 tonnes of bombs on Gaza in 89 days