Lisbon…The Goldbaums had already traveled to Madrid and were spending three days here before returning to the States. They were amazed at how many groups were here from Israel as well as summer travel seems to have picked up dramatically in Europe despite the persistence of Covid and the war in Ukraine. Tourism to Israel remains sluggish as 252,300 overseas visitors came to Israel in June 2022, compared with 384,000 in June 2019, before the Covid pandemic, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported.
Only 1 million tourists visited Israel in the first half of the year. El Al has also cut back on some routes including Canada. In all of 2021 only 402,300 tourists visited Israel, while 887,100 tourists came in 2020 after a record year in 2019 when 4.5 million foreign tourists came to Israel. As the Goldbaums found out, the number of Israelis traveling abroad has almost reached pre-Covid levels. In June 2022, 766,700 Israelis traveled abroad compared with 837,400 in June 2019. A significant number of the travel business was part of kosher travel. Meanwhile, one casualty of the war in Ukraine will be the traditional travel for Rosh Hashanah to Uman which the Ukrainian government is now banning. Other popular kosher travel destinations were Italy and Dubai, according to Israeli travel experts.