Israel Welcomes 3 Millionth Tourist



By: ELAD BENARI  
Published: November 22nd 2010
in News » Israel

Ben Gurion Airport

Israel marked one of its biggest tourism years ever on Monday, as its 3,000,001 tourist since the beginning of 2010 landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport.

 

The lucky tourist was Pastor Jomber Araujo Vladislav from Brazil, who led a group of 120 evangelical pilgrims. He was welcomed in a special ceremony at the airport by Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, who was accompanied by El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy, Tourism Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar Nir and other ministry, airline and civil aviation executives.

 

During the ceremony, Pastor Vladislav won an additional six-day trip to Israel including airfare and free admission to sites. He also received a Chanukiah and an honorary plaque.

 

“The visit to Israel fills our heart and soul, Israel is a blessing upon all the nations,” the pastor was quoted by Haaretz as saying.

 

Jerusalem Post quoted Misezhnikov as saying during the ceremony: “It is symbolic that the three millionth tourist arrived from Brazil, a country that we opened tourism ties with only two years ago. It represents the achievements that can be accomplished when the government and private enterprise join hands. At the same time as we opened our tourism office in Brazil, El Al began operating direct flights to Sao Paulo, the result being a 42 percent increase in tourism from that country.”

 

Misezhnikov added that the fact that Ladislau was coming to Israel as the head of a group of evangelical pilgrims represents the Tourism Ministry’s success at reaching out to the Christian community as potential tourists. “By coming here [the Christians] both support us financially and become goodwill ambassadors on our behalf,” he said.

 

The Tourism Ministry is anticipating that 2010 will close with a total of 3.4 million tourists, an increase of 400,000 people over Israel’s previous record tourism year, 2008.

 

Ladislau thanked the minister and the dignitaries during the ceremony and was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying: “Israel is different from any other place in the world, it fills our hearts, our souls and our very being. Israel is a blessing for all the nations of the world and I love Israel with a deep and soulful passion.”

 

During the ceremony, Ladislau replaced the Brazilian flag he had wrapped around his shoulders with an Israeli flag.



Related articles: (Israel, Tourism, Tourism Ministry)




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