The new Mamilla open-air mall is an upscale shopping street in Jerusalem. The new Mamilla open-air mall is an upscale shopping street in Jerusalem. The new Mamilla open-air mall is an upscale shopping street in Jerusalem. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

Jerusalem named fastest-growing tourist destination of 2018

International arrivals spiked 38% in the past 12 months.

Did you travel to Jerusalem this year? If so, you were not alone. Not by a long shot.

According to just-published statistics, in 2018 the Mediterranean city experienced the biggest growth in tourists than any other city. The number of international arrivals jumped 38% this year, nearly doubling since 2016.

The findings come from Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm with analysts in more than 100 countries. Coming in second and third place in the rankings were two Indian cities – Chennai and Agra – which experienced 30 percent growth and 24 percent growth, respectively. Two U.S. cities – Miami and Las Vegas – also made the top 10.

According to the report, one of the reasons for Jerusalem's high ranking is a marketing push by the Israeli tourism industry that included airing commercials like the one below during popular television shows in the United States:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlOJ-i5hJdI

The ad campaign continued offline as well, on billboards and the side of buses in major metropolitan areas – including in New York, San Francisco, Milan and Amsterdam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpSYJbrews4

The new report also named Jerusalem as one of four cities to watch, alongside Mumbai, Osaka, and Porto.

The news comes on the heels of 2017, which was a record year for Israeli tourism. 3.6 million tourists visited Israel last year, itself a 25% increase from 2016. The majority of them were from the U.S., and 59% were first-time visitors.

The trend goes back even a year earlier, when Travel + Leisure Magazine named Jerusalem one of the world's best cities in 2015. “It’s not surprising that Jerusalem made the list,” Jonathan Caras, a Jerusalem-based entrepreneur, told From The Grapevine at the time. “This city is a cultural touchstone, an emerging tech center and sits at the intersection of many different culinary styles. It makes sense for it to be a hotspot for global business and tourism."

The main building of the office park hosts several companies and ground-level cafe. The Jerusalem Technology park is a campus of office buildings that is home to many startups (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

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Jerusalem named fastest-growing tourist destination of 2018
International arrivals to Jerusalem spiked 38% in the past 12 months.