Travel Developments in Israel Include More Tourists, Historical Finds
(Jerusalem, Israel) – Israel is booming with tourists, according to its tourism officials, and that report is released just as several new developments give travelers more reasons to head to the holy land. An archeological find and airline specials have popped up on the horizon to coax even more to visit.
The largest collection of Roman-period coins from the Bar-Kokhba revolt was discovered this month during excavations in a cave in the Judean Hills north of Jerusalem.
The cache of 120 gold, silver and bronze coins was found in three batches in a deep cavern located in a nature reserve. The coins, imprinted with Jewish religious images and texts, are believed to have belonged to a group of Jewish fighters hiding in the cave during the Bar-Kokhba rebellion against the Romans in the year 132.
"This discovery verifies the assumption that the refugees of the revolt fled to caves in the center of a populated area in addition to the caves found in more isolated areas of the Judean Desert," says Professor Amos Frumkin of the Hebrew University. "Bar-Kokhba coins of this quality and quantity have never before been discovered in one location in Israel."
Also, weapons, pottery and other gold, silver and bronze Roman coins were discovered in the cave.
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An Israeli government report says tourism to Israel hit an all-time high of 333,000 travelers in the month of October, a nine percent increase from the same period last year, which was the previous record-high for travel to Israel.
Also, Israel saw a 20 percent increase in cruise travel with 23,500 tourists arriving on cruise ships, and a six percent increase in the number of tourists who visited Israel and stayed for a minimum of one night compared with October 2008.
"We are thrilled to see such a large increase in travelers to Israel in October 2009 during this important tourist time," said Arie Sommer, Commissioner of Tourism, North and South America. "And we are encouraged by signs that the trend will continue throughout the December holiday season, bringing us a robust end to 2009."
A total of 1,068,121 travelers passed through Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv this October, a 1.5% increase compared to the same period last year.
For those extra travelers to the country, some new flights and airline specials have been announced.
Delta Airlines has announced that it will increase the capacity on flights on its New York JFK-Tel Aviv route beginning in the summer of 2010. The airline will add an additional 187 seats on the daily flight between Tel Aviv and New York, and upgrade to Boeing 747-400 aircrafts.
Low-fare British airline EasyJet celebrated the launch of its London Luton-Tel Aviv route at Ben Gurion International Airport this month with the arrival of the first flight with 171 passengers. EasyJet offers six weekly flights to Tel Aviv aboard an Airbus A320 aircraft.