The Ministry of Tourism reported that the number of tourists who visited Israel between January and June 2005 increased by 73 percent increase over the previous year. The survey results indicate that Catholic tourists lead the non-Jewish tourist charts with 156,000 who visited the country in the first half of 2005, a 91 percent increase over the first half of 2004. Meanwhile, 104,000 Protestant tourists (a 39 percent increase) and 104,000 other Christians (a 53 percent increase) visited Israel. The number of Jewish tourists rose by 5 percent to 371,000. “We are in the midst of an economic revolution of the first order,” said Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson. “Tourism has turned into a major catalyst for growth in Israel’s economy.”
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