Estimates that 2010 would mark a record year for tourism for Israel proved correct on Sunday, as the Airports Authority released its final numbers.
Approximately 11.485 million passengers passed through Ben Gurion Airport over the course of the year on international flights – an increase of 9.3 percent over 2009.
Some 86,235 departures and arrivals were recorded at the international airport, up 5.5 percent since last year. Domestic air travel was also much higher this year, at 452,000 – an increase of some 49 percent compared to last year.
Luggage traffic at the airport also grew by 10 percent, with 300,000 tons of shipping and handling marked.
Record numbers of passengers were noted along Israel's borders, at 4.154 million – a 21 percent increase from last year. Some 1.4 million people were recorded passing through the airports in Eilat and the nearby Ovda – 21.3 percent more than last year.
Preliminary estimates last week showed that Israel received 3.45 million visitors over the course of 2010 - 14 percent higher than the previous record of about 3 million tourists in 2008. Tourism slid last year during the global economic crisis.
The increase reflects improved security in Israel, where Israeli-Palestinian violence last decade sent tourist numbers plummeting.
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