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Record-Breaking Tourist No. 3,000,001 Arrives in Israel From Sao Paulo

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Israel - Tourism Minister Stas Miseznikov greeted this year’s 3,000,001st tourist in a festive ceremony at the foot of the plane at Ben Gurion International Airport, on Monday. 

The lucky visitor, Pastor Ribamar Araujo Ladislau, who arrived on an El Al flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil, leading a group of 120 evangelical pilgrims, received an honorary plaque, a Chanukiah and a gift certificate for a week-long all expenses paid trip to Israel on his next visit. 

With Ladislau’s recent arrival, Israel breaks the all time record for incoming tourist set in 2008.

Miseznikov, along with El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy, Tourism Ministry director-general Noaz Bar Nir and other ministry, airline and civil aviation executives, met the arriving visitors on the tarmac and welcomed them to Israel with flowers and commemorative pins. Ladislau was one of the last passengers to disembark from the plane and his descent down the stairs to the tarmac was greeted by applause from the ceremony participants.

“It is symbolic that the three millionth tourist arrived from Brazil, a country that we opened tourism ties with only two years ago,” said Miseznikov. “It represents the achievements that can be accomplished when the government and private enterprise join hands. At the same time as we opened our tourism office in Brazil, El Al began operating direct flights to Sao Paulo, the result being a 42 percent increase in tourism from that country.”

Miseznikov also said that the fact that Ladislau was coming to Israel as the head of a group of evangelical pilgrims highlighted the ministry’s success at reaching out to the Christian community as potential tourists, investing large amounts in marketing Israeli tourism products to that community.

“The evangelical Christian community is the choice target population for the ministry of tourism. They love Israel and by coming here they both support us financially and become goodwill ambassadors on our behalf,” said Miseznikov.

Miseznikov said that the ministry anticipated to close the year with a total of 3.4 million tourists, representing an increase of 400,000 people over Israel’s previous record tourism year, 2008.

Ladislau thanked the minister and the dignitaries for the warm welcome and expressed great joy at arriving to Israel.

“Israel is different from any other place in the world, it fills our hearts, our souls and our very being. Israel is a blessing for all the nations of the world and I love Israel with a deep and soulful passion,” said Ladislau. “It is important that as many pilgrims as possible come to Israel.”

During the ceremony, Ladislau, who disembarked the plane sporting a Brazilian flag wrapped around his shoulders, replaced it with an Israeli flag.

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