With more offerings for travelers than ever before, it’s no surprise that tourism to Israel is continuing to increase at record-breaking rates. In January – August 2018, an estimated 2.6 million tourist entries were recorded, an increase of 16.5% on the same period in 2017 (about 2.3 million) and 44% more than in 2016. With new hotel and flight options, a brand-new information center and city pass in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, plus a diverse portfolio of upcoming events and festivals, the country continues to climb to the top of travelers’ bucket lists.
- New Tourist Information Centers and a Jerusalem City Pass – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are now offering more information to tourists than ever before with new information centers in each city. The Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) has launched a series of services to make the city more accessible and convenient for tourists, including a new city pass that offers a bus service from the airport to Jerusalem, free inner-city public transportation and discounts at the city’s attractions and museums. In addition, The Jerusalem Development Authority has stationed huge colorful trucks in the Jaffa gate and the Machne Yehuda food market. Visitors will be able to get information on tourist attractions, art, cultural events, the culinary scene and historical sites. The trucks will have free Wi-Fi, cell phone charging stations and cool and refreshing drinks.
- Crusader Wall Promenade – The newly unveiled Wall Promenade in allows visitors to enjoy another historic layer in the ancient city. The restoration and accessibility works were designed specifically to enable visitors walking the restored promenade to view illustration aids to enjoy a glimpse into the glorious past of a city that united religions, cultures, and multiple rulers and conquerors. The newly opened fortifications, towers, and the Crusaders’ market were previously buried by sand. Along the tour of the fortifications – the walls, moat, and the Crusaders’ market, all built in 1251, during the visit of Louis IX, King of France – visitors can step centuries back in time to the Middle Ages and the Crusader period. Visitors can touch reconstructed parts of the walls, peer through the embrasures and the brave-hearted are invited to descend through the mysterious access tunnel that was used by the Crusader knights to access the moat surrounding the fortifications as a way of bringing food and ammunition supplies without risking a breach of the walls.
- “Step Into History” With The Tower Of David – The Tower of David Museum and the ToD Innovation Lab have teamed up with Lithodomos VR to produce Jerusalem VR Tours: , the first mobile virtual reality walking tour in Israel. Visitors will be able to see the Jerusalem that pilgrims would have seen 2000 years ago when they came from all over the ancient world to the 2nd Temple built by Herod the Great. The tour, available in English and Hebrew, guides visitors through the Tower of David Museum and winds its way down from the ancient fortress through the Old City using virtual reality viewpoints at the Western Wall, Robinson’s Arch, the Jewish Quarter and the Cardo to show Jerusalem today and at the time of the Second Temple 2000 years ago during the time of King Herod. The tour guide will explain the mysteries of the city, and when guests put on the headset in the right location, the magic of virtual reality will fill in the missing pieces and provide the visitor with a full picture and a deeper understanding of Herod’s Jerusalem. The views and the scenes in the VR reconstructions replicate the city and the Second Temple that King Herod built some 2000 years ago.
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