When she boarded the plane from Romania on her way to Israel, Iona Isac could not have imagined what would be waiting for her upon her arrival. Iona was met with a festive reception hosted by Israel’s Minister of Tourism and even received a private tour of Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after becoming the 3 millionth tourist to visit Israel this year.
Today (Tuesday) the Israeli Tourism Ministry marked the arrival of the 3 millionth tourist to Israel this year. Iona Isac of Romania came with her partner, Mihai Georgasi, who became tourist number 3 million and one, and the two were greeted with a festive reception at Ben-Gurion Airport. “This is an amazing experience,” Isaac said in an interview with Channel 2 News, “I’m living my dream right now.”
“Tomorrow is my boyfriend’s birthday so he said to go somewhere where its warm and sunny,” Isac said. “So we said, let’s go to Israel because we have some friends here and I think we did very good to come here today.”
Isac told Channel 2 News about the moment she realized something extraordinary was going on. Isac waited for her luggage at baggage claim but was told that since the flight was delayed, her bags would come later. She was then directed to the reception hall, where she was greeted by people holding signs with her name and cameras. “Everybody was waiting for me, even the Minister of Tourism was there, so it was pretty amazing.”
Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin welcomed Isac on a red carpet holding flowers and balloons and gave her a certificate stating that she is Israel’s 3 millionth tourist to visit in 2017. Iona and her partner were also treated to a special private tour of the Tower of David by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Reaching the 3 millionth tourist this year and breaking the all-time record of tourist visits to Israel is a celebratory day and a historic landmark,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “I am excited to receive the 3 millionth tourist this week and am happy about our achievements at the Ministry of Tourism as a result of the tremendous investment we make in marketing Israel around the world.”