The Galilee opens hiking trails for Christians

Galilee network of footpaths, roads and bicycle paths links sites central to lives of Jesus, disciples

Israel hopes to attract Christian tourists with a new pilgrimage route unveiled in the Galilee, a network of footpaths, roads and bicycle paths linking sites central to the lives of Jesus and his disciples.

Developing sites linked to Jewish history has long been a priority for the Jewish state. But the Gospel Trail, inaugurated recently by Israeli tourism officials, is a nod to the growing number of Christians traveling to the country in recent years, outnumbering Jewish visitors.

Tourism Ministry launches new initiative geared to attract Christian pilgrims to Holy Land, offer tours to sites including mother of Jesus Christ birthplace near Nazareth, Tomb of the Virgin near Jerusalem

More than two-thirds of the 3.45 million tourists in Israel last year were Christian, double the amount of the previous year, and about 40 percent of them defined themselves as religious pilgrims, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

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