Tourism in Palestine on the rise


Tourism revenues in Palestine have climbed this year to their highest level since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, a report by the economic magazine Middle East Business Intelligence (MEED) reveals.

According to the report, approximately 1.3 million tourists visited Palestine during 2008, compared to 700,000 last year and 400,000 in 2006.

“There has been great success this year, but the ceiling is much higher,” Palestinian minister of tourism, Khouloud Daibes-Abu Dayyeh, told MEED at a Palestinian Investment Conference in London earlier this week.

The minister added the Palestinian Authority was building thousands of hotel rooms and new museums aimed at increasing the share of tourism revenues in the Palestinian GDP to 9 percent next year, compared to 2008’s 7%.

Last month, Palestinian businessmen assembled at the Palestine Investment Conference in the West Bank city of Nablus, where they announced a package of seven investment projects with a total value of $510 million.

The projects are concentrated in the northern part of the West Bank, where the P.A. has proved during 2008 its ability to impose law and order.

During the conference, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Faya’d asserted that while the Palestinian economy was not completely isolated from developments affecting the global economy, he was confident of its limited impact on the local market.