Friday, 18 November 2016

ISRAEL: Christian Tourism To Israel, Will It Grow?

While the dust is still settling from Donald Trump’s surprising victory, many in Israel’s all-important tourism industry are wondering if there will be a positive impact on tourism to the Jewish State.

Despite a perception in the Evangelical community that the Trump administration will be extremely pro-Israel, it is “too early to tell if the change in the American administration will affect incoming Evangelical Christian tourism in any way,” Israel’s Ministry of Tourism said.

David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, the organization that brings thousands of Christian tourists each year for the Jerusalem Parade, agreed.

“It is too early to tell how a Trump presidency will impact Evangelical tourism to Israel. Like other visitors to Israel, Christian tourists come here in larger numbers when there is calm in the land, while the numbers tend to go down when there are tensions and terror attacks. I expect stability for Israel as Trump takes office but no one can predict what is next in this region,” Parsons stated.

(1) Tourism is a very important industry to Israel’s economy…

(2) Christians make up over half of all tourists to Israel.

(3) Evangelical Christians are very pro-Trump…(according to a poll in the days before the election were overwhelmingly supportive of Trump over Hillary Clinton.

(4) Nevertheless, it is too early to determine whether having Trump in the White House will encourage his voters to visit Israel.

One of Israel’s largest tourism providers to Christians, Sar-El, has seen rises and falls in the number of Christian tourists over the years. According to Sar-El’s deputy general manager David Katz, “Evangelical support has continued throughout all periods and I don’t think tourism has much to do with a change in the US administration.”

If a more pro-Israel White House is not responsible for boosting tourism to Israel, what does help increase the numbers?

Travel consultant Elisa Moed of Travelujah explained that the factors driving Christian tourism are multifaceted. “Pro-Israel Evangelical Christians want to come to Israel, and the increase or decrease of this segment is primarily related to economic factors, marketing, and security,” but not Donald Trump.