The Central Bureau of Statistics is reporting a great start to tourism for the year 2008. The number of visitors was a whopping 57% above January 2007 and 34% above 2006. (In 2006 we were still feeling the effects of the Lebanon war in Jan 2007).
Of these visitors 27% more than in 2007 arrived by air and 100% more by land and sea.
One interesting statistic is that 5 times last years total entered the country for a one day trip. For those uncertain of what Israel is all about, a one day trip allows an overview which can give confidence in a longer trip at a later stage. Many of these visitors were from Russia, Poland and Ukraine, countries which offer a great potential for increased tourism this year.
Here in Haifa there is a clear indication of an increase in tourists with more coaches on the road visiting the usual tourist spots like the Bahai temple and the Druze villages of Issfiya and Daliat al Carmel.
A recent visit to one of the popular hotels in the city also had indications of a large group of visitors.
In spite of the threats around us from Hamas and Hizbollah, tourists still feel confident in the security arrangements in the country and are showing their confidence with the feet by coming here.