TravelTalkRADIO and TV host, Sandy Dhuyvetter, and her producer, Patrick Peartree, returned back to the USA this week, still glowing from one of the most memorable trips of a lifetime. Visiting Palestine for two weeks at Christmas time provided a backdrop of community events and family celebrations that rival no other season.
Hitting the road running in their usual style, they were able to visit, film, and meet the people of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, Hebron, Taybeh, the Dead Sea, and many of the surroundings areas. Over 7 hours of radio programming was produced, and a TV short will be created and distributed in late January, an extract of the best from 8 hours of footage shot on location.
Sandy described the journey saying, “We were able to capture the true spirit of the society as we experienced community activities, faith-based ceremonies, the archaeological wonders of the region and, my favorite, visiting our friends’ homes. If you are drawn to this region, do not hesitate to visit. It is safe, welcoming, and remarkably rewarding.”
There is a wide range of travel choices available from first class to economy. Pilgrimage tourism can be done as low as US$150 per day, however, Sandy recommends expanding your trip with a montage of experiences that will include all aspects of life in Palestine. This unique destination offers breathtaking and awe-inspiring ancient and natural sites; stylish accommodations; delicious cuisine; and countless cultural, historical, spiritual, and outdoor activities.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities provides ample support and can supply complete information on destinations and events. The Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association has links to its nearly 40 inbound tour operator members, the Arab Hotel Association has a directory of hotels in Palestine, and the Arab Guides Union has a list of guides, many of whom speak Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian, Polish, or other languages in addition to English and Arabic.
During the TravelTalkRADIO visit, Travel & Encounter, a publication of a local Bethlehem organization, wrote an article called Travel Talk in Palestine. Sandy was thanked for her forward thinking and her passion to bring peace through tourism to her audiences around the world. Patrick Peartree also noted how touched Sandy and he were that so many of their Israeli colleagues were supportive of more programming to Palestine.
Patrick noted, “Our colleagues in Israel have become even more golden to us during this trip. Rising above the competing politics of the region, our friends in Israel have all given us much support and enthusiasm. They share our view that tourism contributes to active peace and helps contribute to a robust economy and a more harmonious co-existence.”
The TravelTalkMEDIA team worked closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for Palestine to promote travel to the region. Her Excellency, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Khouloud Diabes, provided Sandy and Patrick with a team of high-level tourism experts who created an itinerary that was the backbone of their trip. Besides seeing almost the entire country, the Travel Talk team was also were able to follow Dr. Diabes on a few of her many appearances she makes throughout the country. In addition to her tireless efforts to promote tourism to Palestine, Dr. Khouloud provides support for civic and community foundations, cultural and heritage events, neighborhood youth organizations, and the restoration of historic buildings. Under her leadership, the country is awakening with a new spirit and an excitement to share the treasures of this most remarkable land. Like never before, Palestine is keeping the faith for a bright future.