Israel looks forward to welcoming millions of Christian visitors when international travel resumes, Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen said Sunday. “We are here, and we are waiting for the day the skies open and flights to the Holy Land resume,” she told participants at Israel’s Christian Media Summit.
“Israel’s ties with the Christian world are unbreakable – not even by a pandemic or an economic crisis,” Farkash-Hacohen said, noting Jerusalem’s vibrant, colorful, tourist-filled streets were “another victim of the COVID19 shutdown.”
For many of the Christian tourists, the Minister said, “visiting Israel, the holy land, is not just a visit or a vacation, it is a transformative, inspiring and long lasting experience. Coming here is ‘a vacation beyond belief’.” She added that Christian tourism to Israel has grown from many countries in recent years, as groups and families came to Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, among other sites. “These sites are ready, waiting for the visitors to return,” she said.
The Christian Media Summit, organized annually by the Israel Government Press Office, was held in a digital format for the first time. It featured remarks by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among other leaders.
Farkash-Hacohen also shared that Israel was using the COVID-initiated “forced break in tourism” to renovate “relevant infrastructure so that future visits are better than before.”
Visiting Israel was the ultimate show of support for the country, she told participants, detailing how tourists “support it in every way: they enhance its image, contribute to its economy and make a statement that they care.”
Farkash-Hacohen concluded her remarks by urging Christians all around the world to travel to Israel when possible. “A temporary break is not the end – it is just time to breath before visiting once again. We feel confident that once international travel resumes – we will be able to welcome millions of Christian travelers again.”