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Israel eyes 10 mln foreign tourists annually within 10 years


13:24, May 30, 2013

JERUSALEM, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday unveiled a goal to attract 10 million tourists annually to the Mideast nation over the next decade.

"We have doubled the number of tourists in the last few years from 1.5 million to 3 million per year and we need to double this number again and continue the growth," Netanyahu said at the Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit, which opened in Jerusalem Tuesday.

Netanyahu noted that tourists will continue to be exempt from the 18 percent value added tax (VAT), as the government has rejected a proposal for canceling this tourists' privilege in recent budget discussions.

"We are committed to tourism, and committed to protecting it," he said, adding that more tourists would generate additional jobs.

During the Tuesday session, Sheldon Adelson, CEO and chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, received a lifetime achievement award presented by Israeli Tourism Minister Uzi Landau for his contribution to the global tourism industry.

Global leaders, academics and experts in the tourism sector, as well as a number of tourism companies and organizations worldwide joined the two-day conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

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