BETHLEHEM, Thursday, June 18 2020 (WAFA) - Under the auspices and presence of Rula Maayah, Palestine’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), and Christian Clages, Head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah, the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, established on May 24, has commenced its duties with the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding aiming at developing new standards and protocols for Palestine’s post-COVID-19 tourism sector, according to a press release.
The German cooperation is supporting the Task Force as a part of Team Europe. The contract was signed with the GIZ, Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP). It aims to develop and communicate new standards and protocols for the Palestinian tourism industry that will bolster tourist and tour operator confidence in the sector. A marketing and communications campaign will be rolled out upon completion to publicize the standards and protocols to all stakeholders, said the press release.
“Restoring the confidence of travelers in Palestine as a safe and responsible destination is paramount to restoring the growth of our tourism sector in the post-COVID-19 reality,” said Maayah. “The new standards and protocols will be in sync with global standards as well as the standards being developed and adopted by regional partners like Jordan and Egypt”, she added.
“This is not only about support to mitigating the economic effects of the crisis on tourism,” said Clages. “We all wish tourists to return and enjoy the hospitality of the Palestinians even in difficult circumstances, and we wish pilgrims to pray again at the sites from where their beliefs originate.”
Tourism contributes significantly to the Palestinian economy in terms of employment and government revenues. Revenue generated from tourism creates thousands of jobs that support local communities. The sudden and intense shock resulting from the coronavirus pandemic has affected the broader economy and created a challenging unemployment problem.
The Tourism Recovery Taskforce includes representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), the Arab Hotel Association (AHA), the Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association (HLITOA), the Palestinian Society of Tourist and Travel Agents (PSTTA), The Guide Union, and the Network of Experimental Palestinian Tourism Organizations (NEPTO).
The task force is aiming to roll out the standards and protocols in June allowing the Palestinian tourism sector to fully reopen to international visitors subsequently.