Ioana Isac from Romania is the three millionth tourist who landed in Israel this year, a new all-time record for incoming tourism in the Holy Land, Israeli Ministry of Tourism announced in a press release on Tuesday. The event happened at Ben Gurion airport on November 7. She was accompanied by her partner, Mihai Georgescu, tourist number 3,000,001.
“This is a special day and an historic milestone as we break the 3-million-tourist barrier and set a new all-time record. We are set to end the year with an amazing achievement, the likes of which have never been reached since the establishment of the State. I am excited to welcome the 3 millionth tourist today and I am happy with the achievements that we in the Tourism Ministry are seeing, as a result of the huge investment that we are making in marketing Israel around the world and our exceptional collaborations with airlines and the connections that we maintain and strengthen with tour operators. All these are bearing fruit and have added about NIS 17 billion and thousands of jobs to the local economy,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin welcomed the couple in the arrival hall in Ben Gurion airport.
The minister welcomed Ioana Isac in a festive ceremony at the airport, complete with red carpet, balloons and flowers and presented Ioana with a certificate to mark the occasion. Tourism Minister Levin and Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi accompanied the excited couple to their awaiting limousine, as they set off for a dream holiday experience with several options prepared by the Tourism Ministry.
During their vacation, they will enjoy an upgrade to a pampering hotel suite, a ride in a limousine, a helicopter tour in the skies of Israel, a unique Dead Sea experience, a sunset tour of the Tel Aviv promenade and a private dinner prepared by Israeli chef Nir Tzuk in his home.
In the January – October 2017 period, 63,000 tourists arrived from Romania, compared to 40,100 in the same period in 2016 (increase of 57 percent) and 37,400 in 2015, Israeli Ministry of Tourism shows. The Romanian tourist stays an average of 7 nights in Israel. At the height of the season, there are 64 weekly flights between Romania and Israel, with most of them on the Bucharest- Tel Aviv route.
There are also 15 weekly flights from Timisoara, Oradea, Craiova, Iasi and Cluj to Ben Gurion airport, with a new route from Bucharest to Ovdah beginning this month. The Tourism Ministry offers incentives to airlines opening new routes into Ben Gurion airport from destinations that have no direct flights to Israel. In addition, the ministry encourages tourism into Eilat by offering airlines a grant of EUR 45 per passenger landing in Ovdah during the winter.
Israeli PM Netanyahu also welcomed Ioana Isac and her partner, holding a surprise tour of the Tower of David Museum for them.