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The Metropolitan Jerusalem Master Plan

The Metropolitan Jerusalem Master Plan


In order to realize the huge potential of

the Asian tourism market, hotels and

entertainments centers in Jerusalem must

be suited to the habits of the Asian tourist

shekels a year.

Growth estimations for the global tourism

industry predict that the majority of this growth

is expected to come in the form of tourism from

the Far East, specifically, China. The demands

and needs of the Chinese tourist are different

than those of the Western tourist. In addition to

improving transportation fromChina to Israel,

hotels and entertainment centers need to be

suited to the habits of the Chinese tourist. Even

today Israel is investing more in tourism from the

Far East.

In 2016, a Chinese airline began direct

flights to Israel for the first time. This

trend must be strengthened, out of the

understanding that realizing the tourism

potential Jerusalem is dependent on winning

the battle for the heart of the Chinese tourist.

The economic turnout from tourism for

the Israeli economy was estimated in 2013 at

40 billion shekels, according to the following


Inbound tourism (including income for

Israeli airlines) – approx. 18.2 billion shekels

Internal tourism – approx. 12 billion


Outbound tourism – approx. 9 billion


A survey of inbound tourism for 2011

showed the character of tourists visiting Israel:

they are largely Christians aged 25-44, of average

income, who spend about $1,500 while here. The

most visited city in Israel, by tourists from abroad,

is Jerusalem; 75% of those asked said they had

visited the city. Coming in second is Tel Aviv

(64%), and third (51%) – the Dead Sea – which

is in the metropolitan Jerusalem region. In fourth

place – Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee, and fifth

– Nazareth.

The majority of the most-visited sites in

Israel are in Jerusalem. 68% of tourists visited

the Western Wall, 64% visited the Jewish

Quarter, 57% visited the Church of the Holy

Sepulture, 55% visited Via Dolorosa, and

53% visited the Mount of Olives.

A look into the reasons why tourists

visit Israel shows that most of them are

Christians or Jews who come here for

purposes of tourism, including religious

tourism (pilgrimage).

53% of tourists from overseas are

Christians, half of which are Catholic. 28%

are Jews, and 19% are of other religions or

have no religious affiliation.

54% of tourists coming to Israel in 2013

were coming here for the first time.

22% were visiting Israel for the purpose

of pilgrimage, 27% to tour and sightsee, 9%

for recreation and vacation. 26% came to

visit friends and relatives, and 8% were here

on business or for conferences.

64% of tourists stayed in hotels, 25%

with friends and relatives, 4% at youth

hostels and Christian hostels, and 3% stayed

in homes they own or rented.

Strengthening the growth trend in Chinese tourism

to Israel. Chinese tourists taking in the Temple Mount

view from Mount of Olives. April 2015


Kyrylo Glivin, Shutterstock

Hotels and Tourism

Over the past half-century, tourism has

become one of the most important

industries in the global economy. In order to

meet the demands of hundreds of millions

of tourists expected to visit Jerusalem over

the coming decades, tens of thousands

of hotels rooms must be built, and the

infrastructure appropriate for them must

be created. The realization of this plan will

help Jerusalem become a global tourism


In 2013, the World Tourism Organization

(WTO), announced there was a “Tourism

Billion,” meaning, in that year, for the first

time, a record one billion tourists traveled

worldwide. This incredible number points

towards an ongoing trend of growth in

world tourism. In 1950 there was a total

of 25 million tourists worldwide – one for

every 1,000 people – but the reality in the

years since has changed remarkably. People

from all over the world are traveling abroad

in droves. The organization forecasts that

100 years from 1950 – in 2050 – 4.7 billion

tourists, one out of every two people,

will travel to some tourism destination or

another on earth. This growth trend in

global tourism has been going on constantly

for over half a century, despite all economic,

social, and political crises in the world.

Thus, the global tourism boom is one of

the most outstanding economic and social

phenomena of the past century. In order to

meet the demands of the tourism industry,

the segment of the world’s population

working with the tourism industry has

been growing annually for the past thirty

years. Tourism has become one of the most

dynamic industries in local economies.

Presuming that the forecast for continued

growth of the industry remains stable, ways

to integrate metropolitan Jerusalem into the

global growth in tourism should be examined.

Jerusalem can provide unique tourism sites that

cannot be found elsewhere in the world. First and

foremost, Jerusalem and its surrounding areas

include religious sites holy to Jews, Christians,

and Muslims. Even today, pilgrims of all three

religions represent a significant percentage

of Jerusalem’s visitors and proper efforts can

strengthen this trend. Further, Jerusalem has a

long, continuous history, and archeological digs

have exposed the city’s chronicles in its various

historical layers.

Many other tourism sites in the metropolitan

region may be added to these, including the Dead

Sea, Herodian, Bethlehem, Jericho, the Judean

Desert, and much more. If properly developed,

these historical and archeological sites could turn

metropolitan Jerusalem into one of the greatest

focal points for tourists who are interested in

global historical heritage.

The average growth in global tourism is some

4.5% annually. If this trend is to continue, in

2030, some 1.8 billion tourists will tour globally.

As noted, the World TourismOrganization is

estimating an even more significant increase over

the subsequent 20 years. If we take this data as

our baseline assumption, we can calculate the

number of guests who will be visiting Jerusalem’s

hotels over the coming decades. Today there are

some 1.5 million tourists annually to Jerusalem’s

10,000 existing hotel rooms. The most reasonable

increase in the city’s tourism numbers would

be 5%-6% annually. Taking these numbers into

consideration, in 2050, there will be 10 million

tourists from abroad and another 2 million Israeli

domestic tourists in Jerusalem.

The realization of this tourism vision

will have huge social and economic

repercussions on metropolitan Jerusalem.

The comprehensive scope of economic

activity inherent in such tourism

development is estimated at over 7 billion


Where will the billionth tourist stay?

With growth in the hundreds of percentages over fifty years, tourism has

become a huge stimulus of economic growth. How can and will Jerusalem

become part of this amazing historical process?

Hotels and Tourism