Russians Love Tel Aviv!

Published: May 7th 2010
in News » Israel

Tel Aviv beach

So far this year, 114,000 Russian tourists have visited Israel. That’s twice the rate of last year.


Haaretzis reporting that many Russian tourists are flocking to Israel even though several years ago Europe was their number one destination.


They are increasingly turning to the Tel Aviv beach, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem using guides to "see the holy sites.”


One beachgoer the newspaper interviewed was wearing a crucifix around his neck along with a hat that featured the insignia of the IDF. On his hat, he had tied a black and orange ribbon that symbolizes Saint George.


"On May 9 in Russia, we celebrate the Russian army's victory over the Nazis and Saint George is the patron saint of the armed forces,” he told Haaretz.


The trend of Russians visiting Israel has been steadily increasing since 2008 and now Russia trails only the US when it comes to visiting the Holy Land. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism stats show that in 2009, 400,000 Russians visited compared with only 73,500 in 2006 – a major increase.


This amplified interest in Israel did not materialize out of thin air. In 2008, Israel changed the law so that Russian tourists no longer need to apply for visas before they visit. The tourism ministry simultaneously began a major marketing campaign in Russia, using online, print and television, targeting multiple regions of Russia.


The ministry’s research has even found that Russian tourists have a higher approval rating of Israel than tourists from other countries due to several factors: a large Russian speaking community, the short trip from Russia to Israel and the warm weather. 


The marketing campaign is still ongoing and one trip to the beach in Tel Aviv makes it evident that the effort is paying off significantly for Israel's tourism industry.

Related articles: (Tel Aviv, Russia, Russians, tourism, Jerusalem)

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