The recent political developments in Northern Africa and the Middle East were enough to deter even the most diehard travelers from vacationing in much of the region. But Israels tourism industry is profiting big-time, in spite of the decline experienced by its neighbors last year, the number of foreign tourists tallied in at $3.4 billion, and the number is expected to reach $4 billion by the end of the 2011 season.
Cruise lines are one of the newly profitable areas of tourism to the country. According to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, the country has seen a steady increase in cruise travel over the past two years, with the arrival of 169,200 cruise visitors in 2010 a 250% increase compared to 2009. Because of the political conditions in Israel’s neighboring countries, cruise companies like Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, and many others now giving preference to Israeli ports over Egyptian ones. In June 2010, Israel hosted 259,000 tourists; by June 2 this year, 50,000 had already visited.