By David Dolan
Jerusalem municipal officials often point out that there is no other city on earth that is regarded as sacred by three different religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. They also note that over half the people on earth at least nominally adhere to one of the three faiths, whose followers jointly view Abraham as a pivotal founding father.
Therefore it should be relatively easy to attract many millions of overseas tourists to the Holy City each year. But the reality is that less than two million people currently visit the sacred sites. This is partly due to the ongoing Jewish-Muslim conflict in the region, coupled with the fact that many Muslims live in countries which consider Israel an enemy state. Despite this, Jerusalem tourism officials have announced that they hope to host up to ten million foreign visitors annually by the year 2020. They estimate this would add 4,000 jobs to the local economy. However for this lofty goal to be reached, they say the number of hotel rooms in Jerusalem needs to be doubled by then to some 20,000 available units.
Record tourism to Israel in first half of 2010 - Globes
Jerusalem mayor: I want 10 million tourists a year - Ynetnews
First half of 2010: Record number of tourists in Israel - Jerusalem Post
El Al launches new domestic route to Eilat - Travel Daily News International
Holy War for the Promised Land: Israel at the Crossroads - David Dolan (Book)