Taglit-Birthright Israel has contributed more than $535 million to Israel’s economy since the trip’s inception in 2000, the organization said.
The contribution to Israel’s tourism industry comes from providing transportation, lodging, food, training, security, entry to tourist sites and air travel during the free 10-day trips to Israel for Jews aged 18 to 26.
Since the beginning of the project, more than 7,100 groups have come to Israel, filling more than 2.2 million hotel beds and traveling around the country for more than 71,000 days in buses. The participants have spent more than $75 million in gift and souvenir shops, according to Taglit-Birthright.
The organization brought groups that boosted the tourism industry during Operation Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War.
More than 17,000 young Jews from 32 countries will visit the country during Taglit-Birthright Israel’s winter 2012 season. –– jta