From her birth place near Nazareth in Northern Israel to her tomb near Jerusalem, a new travel itinerary developed by the country’s tourism ministry is wooing tourists to visit the sites where Virgin Mary once lived, including the sites in West Bank as well as Bethlehem.
According to tourism officials, the move is aimed to attract maximum pilgrims to the Holy Land, said media reports.
Over 3.5 million tourists arrived in Israel in 2010, of which about 69 percent of tourists were pilgrims, according to tourism ministry figures. The new tourism campaign to follow in the footsteps of Virgin Mary could be reaping benefits to the economy as it would encourage pilgrims to revisit the site, expect travel experts.
Israel has been trying to improve the tourism statistics of the country for quite some time, hoping to deter the “disputed” image the Christians’ Holy Land has earned due to its long-time conflicts with neighboring province Palestine in the Middle East.
In November last year, Israel and Palestine agreed over movement of tourists which has had positive effects on the arrivals. Attracting tourists towards Virgin Mary sites in Bethlehem would further boost the economy of both the regions.