Christmas Greeting from the Civil Administration

New post on Israel Defense Forces :Christmas Greeting from the Civil Administration
by Israel Defense Forces

Hotels and shops are filled in Bethlehem as the city enjoys another busy and exciting Christmas season. With over 1.5 million tourists expected to visit this year, Bethlehem is continuing a recent trend of attracting people from all over the world seeking an authentic Christmas experience in the city widely believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.

In 2010 only, more than 1.1 million people have visited the city as tourists- that’s 60% more visitors than in 2009. Bethlehem is a relatively small city, hosting a resident population of 22,000. During Christmas, however, the population swells by over 400%, amounting to a huge injection of economic activity as pilgrims and tourists keep shopkeepers, hotel owners, and tour guides busy. Each year about $250 million are poured into Bethlehem during Christmas, constituting a staggering 15% of its gross domestic product.

The Civil Administration recognizes the religious and economic importance of Bethlehem and will continue to work towards increasing the influx of tourists and pilgrims looking to enjoy this holiday season in one of the Judea and Samaria Region’s holiest locations.