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British tourism assuming increasingly critical role - Israel thanks UK visitors

August 2, 2002

Top Israeli tourism office has admitted that amid the huge decline in visitor numbers from all countries, visitors from the UK are becoming critical to Israel. The success of the Tourism Boycott coupled with the escalation of Israeli violence in suppressing the Intifada has kept people way.

Amnon Lipzin the outgoing London director of the Israel Government Tourist Office was reported in the Jewish Chronicle(*) to admitting that the visitor figure from the UK has also dropped steeply. Last year, some 145,000 Britons had arrived in Israel by air, he said — down from 200,000 in 1999 but he still saw it as a sign of “continued loyalty” when compared to the abysmal visitor figures from other countries and thanked UK visitors.

40 per cent of all international tourists to Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat now came from the UK, as did 20 per cent of foreign visitors to Tel Aviv.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that according to Israeli figures, per thousand of population, about 130 British Jews visited Israel last year — compared to 12 per thousand from America, 90 from France and 80 from the rest of Europe. Overall, visitor numbers have fallen by some 60 per cent since September 2000.

(*) "Israel thanks UK visitors" by Jan Shure, Travel Editor, Jewish Chronicle August 2, 2002.