Friday, 2 December 2011

Ministry of Tourism launches the Gospel Trail


The Israel Ministry of Tourism, on Tuesday, 29 November 2011, launched the Gospel Trail, a modular trail that follows the paths that Jesus is believed to have taken when he left Nazareth, the home of his childhood, for Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which became the center of his ministry. The 62 kilometer trail, which begins at Mount Precipice near Nazareth and ends at Kfar Nahum (Capernaum), consists of specially-signposted footpaths and roads which can be traveled on foot, by bicycle, horse and/or car.

Special Gospel Trail marker (Photo: Nitzan Shorer)
The new trail is expected to enrich the Israeli tourism product for Christian tourists, who represent approximately 65% of incoming tourism to Israel. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in Christian tourism to Israel, and the Gospel Trail is expected to attract an additional 200,000 tourists over the next two years. The Ministry of Tourism has invested, together with KKL-JNF a total sum of 3 million NIS in developing the trail’s infrastructure.

The development of the Gospel Trail is part of a wider economic and tourism plan promoted by the Ministry of Tourism, which hopes to attract more tourists and travelers to the Galilee region and turn it into a bustling tourism center. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Gospel Trail is expected to significantly increase the number of pilgrims and tourists in the area, and attract new businesses and entrepreneurs who will provide services to those visiting and travelling along the trail.

As part of marketing efforts to position Israel as the Holy Land with Jerusalem at its center, the Ministry of Tourism has established the Religious Tourism Desk dedicated to promoting faith-based tourism to Israel. A special Youtube channel has been launched in order to give potential tourists a virtual tour of what Israel has to offer. The site is available in a number of languages and has already attracted thousands of viewers.
Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov: "Christian tourism is both significant and central to the incoming tourism industry in Israel. The Gospel Trail enhances the spiritual experience for every tourist and traveler in Israel, and especially for the Christian community. It is a real honor to invite the entire Christian world to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to walk in the same places where he walked."

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