Not only is Israel breaking Guiness World Records for largest amount of people saying Hatikvah simultaneously, largest national flag, and the World’s largest Humus plate, we also keep breaking previous tourist records. According to the Ministry of Tourism, in April of 2008 alone, there were 290,000 tourists, a 41% increase over April 2007 and 26% over April 2006.
But the Ministry of Tourism has set its goals much, much higher, hoping to bring 5 million tourists in 2012. The Director of Tourism Shaul Tzemach is already nervous about a room shortage. As they say, that should be our worst problem! Anyone want to rent out their apartment for a few days? I volunteer. Tourists usually mean m-o-n-e-y. I say, bring it.
You know what this major increase in tourism will mean for Israel, don’t you? More hotels which means more construction! And Israelis just love construction and detours. There are 90 million shekels going towards encouraging tourism and millions more for the construction of more hotels in Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee area, Acre, Ashdod, Kiryat Shmona and the Upper Galilee. That brings the total cost to 1 billion shekels. The number feels too big to comprehend and reminds me of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil suggesting the largest amount he could fathom “1 milllliion dollars”.
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