Taglit-Birthright Israel, and its 350,000 program participants, have had a significant, and quantifiable, impact of more than $850 million on Israel’s economy. This, according to a first-ever independent study released by the global accounting firm of Ernest & Young.
The report said that direct contributions such as travel, admissions and tour guides in Israel totaled $565 million. The breakdown included $228 million to ELAL/foreign airlines, $59 million to hotels, $41 million for meals, $28 million for bus transportation, $38 million site admissions/guided tours, and $72 million for security/related resources. An additional $100 million was paid for activities such as the Taglit-Birthright Israel training institute for tour educators, Excel summer internship program, Genesis enrichment program for Russian speakers, Mifgashim with Israeli soldiers and students, Holocaust seminars with Yad Vashem and the BRI extension program.
There were also indirect contributions from participants’ local spending, and long-term and unquantifiable contributions such as trip extensions and return trips, totaling $260 million equaling $50 million for trip extensions, $150 million for gifts, souvenirs, food and beverages, and $60 million from those who made Aliyah or return trips.
All amounts are in U.S. dollars and were spent during Birthright’s first 13 years.
“For years we have conducted research showing our program’s effectiveness in promoting Jewish continuity. With this study, we validate the important contribution we make to the Israeli economy,” said Taglit CEO Gidi Mark. “This study shows the critical role we play as one of the leading tour operators in the country and the positive impact we make on businesses in Israel.”