Israel Prepares for Thousands of Christian Tourists This Christmas


Israel is preparing to receive an estimated 165,000 Christians during the Christmas holiday season.

The Tourism Ministry has organized events and arranged for facilities in preparation for the thousands of visitors this December until January. Minister Yariv Levin will host the annual pre-Christmas reception which will be attended by ambassadors, church leaders, representatives of Christian organizations and other dignitaries, reports Israel Hayom.

There will be the traditional parade on Christmas Eve starting from the main street of Nazareth to the city’s Basilica of the Annunciation. A fireworks display will entertain tourists at the end of the parade. On December 25, a mass is scheduled at 10 am in the Basilica.

A free shuttle bus service will be provided to transport Christian pilgrims between Jerusalem and Bethlehem courtesy of the Tourism Ministry.

The Ministry said 55% of all tourists who visited the country this year were Christian. The majority of tourists went to the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa and the Mount of Olives, all in Jerusalem, reports Jewish News Syndicate.

The town of Bethlehem is also preparing for the throng of people this Christmas season. Mayor Anton Salman said this year’s Christmas will be the best in 20 years.

In an interview with Reuters, he said, “Since three years (ago), things are going up, this year is better than 2018 and 2018 was better than 2017 and it is a continuous increase in the number of tourists who are coming to the city.”

The Church of Nativity, the place where Christians believe Jesus was born, has extended its opening hours from sunset to 8 p.m. A new attraction which townspeople hope will captivate Christians is the wooden relic supposed to be from the manger used by baby Jesus. It was recently sent back to Bethlehem from Rome.

To accommodate the growing number of tourists, existing hotels are in expansion mode, while five new hotels are being developed. Joey Canavati, manager of the Alexander Hotel in Bethlehem, revealed that the hotel plans to build more rooms—from 58 to 110. The hotel even had bookings through to 2021.

“(With) the number of tourists that have been coming in this year we have a huge lack of rooms here in Bethlehem,” Canavati said.

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be the first to know what's happening in the Christian community



More like this

Christian Groups Condemn Same-Sex Marriage Bill

More than 80 Christian groups in the US condemned the bill legalizing same-sex marriage. In a letter signed by 83 faith-based groups, it called the Senate to oppose the said bill which they claim is an attack on people of faith.

Ukrainian Kids Attend Bible Camps in Hungary

Ukrainian refugee children have enjoyed Bible camp despite being away from their homeland.

Bible Distribution Grew Despite Pandemic

The United Bible Societies (UBS) announced that around 32.6 million copies of the Bible were distributed in 2021, a 5.5% increase compared to the previous year.

Over 3,000 People Accept Jesus at UK Christian Festival

Festival Manchester, the largest Christian mission in the North West of England, attracted 65,000 people, with more that 3,000 Brits responding to the call of Christ.