Israel is currently experiencing a boom in tourism, with Jerusalem playing host to the vast majority of Israel’s 4 million visitors a year, after all taking a break is good for your health. It has huge cultural and religious significance for individuals who practice either Judaism, Christianity or Islam, as well as a wide range of other attractions.
Investment in facilities and infrastructure has not kept pace with the recent surge in tourist numbers. So with that in mind, here’s what you need to know before embarking on what could be a very special trip.
Jerusalem: Facts and Figures
Jerusalem is the largest of Israel’s cities, with a native population of just under a million.
However, last year alone the city accommodated an extra 3.5 million tourists – representing a staggering 25% year-on-year increase in visitor numbers. This can be explained in part by the relative reduction of violent clashes between Israeli and Palestinian forces in recent years, making Jerusalem much more attractive as a holiday destination.
Of those millions of visitors, the majority of those visitors come from the United States (19%). American tourists are closely followed by those that arrive from Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Italy, Poland and Canada.
The city of Jerusalem contains many places of huge religious and historical significance. A great deal of those who visit are on a pilgrimage to visit holy sites contained within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Dome of the Rock, the Chapel of the Ascension and the Western “Wailing” Wall are just a few of the important landmarks for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.
But there are a wide range of other attractions such as the traditional Mahane Yehuda market in the downtown area and the annual Jerusalem Film Festival. The Dead Sea is also just a short bus ride away with tourists queuing up to create those famous pictures of floating in the extra-salty sea.
Is Jerusalem Safe to Visit?
Despite the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine concerning areas of Jerusalem, the region has enjoyed a few years of relative peace. However, that does not mean that visiting Jerusalem does not carry an element of risk.
The rapidity of the increase in tourist numbers has not allowed Israel to make the necessary investments to cope with the numbers passing through the city each year. Due to the country’s systems, buildings such as hotels can take 10 years to build and so progress is slow.
There is also increasing concern about the lack of infrastructure at important tourist locations. There’s often inadequate parking for buses carrying visitors and a lack of acceptable bathroom facilities. The sheer number of people, the warm climate, and the potentially unsanitary conditions make some of the most popular destinations excellent breeding grounds for diseases.
Protecting Yourself When Abroad
Jerusalem offers many individuals a chance to visit important religious, historical and cultural sites. But the swelling numbers of visitors are having a strain on local facilities; including drinking water. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in protecting yourself before visiting.
For many, travel health can often be an afterthought. However, you should be making sure that you adequately protect your health by taking the correct travel vaccines before departing. Check what travel vaccine you require before your trip. Doing so requires organisation, since vaccines can take a while before they get to work. Yellow fever and malaria do not affect Jerusalem but make sure you are up to date with Polio, Diphtheria and Tetanus. Other factors of your journey may highlight rabies, typhoid and hepatitis A as recommended vaccinations.
You want to avoid a situation whereby you’re boarding your flights without giving your jabs enough time to become effective. Fortunately, we’ve developed a helpful tool that will help you get the right travel vaccinations at the right times so that you can enjoy your holiday without worrying about contracting potentially serious diseases.
To see what you need for your next holiday, simply use the DocHQ travel vaccine tool to see which jabs you require, when you need to have them by, and where you can book an appointment for them nearby.
DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.