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Thousands to visit Holy Land for Christmas

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016

Israel is anticipating the arrival of hundreds of thousands of tourists to the Holy Land over the Christmas period, beginning with the Catholic rite and culminating in the Orthodox celebrations.

Israel's Tourism Ministry estimates that in December alone about 120,000 people will be visiting the country, with a second wave of visitors arriving in January to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.

The figures were made public on the occasion of the traditional Christmas reception hosted by Israeli Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin, along with the patriarchs of all the Christian denominations in the country.

The Orthodox celebrations are determined by the Julian calendar and often attract pilgrims from eastern Europe.

The minister said his government department would be offering free public transport between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem for pilgrims on New Year's Eve.

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