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Code of conduct in the holy land

We believe that the Code of Conduct for Tourism in the Holy Land is a unique document as it shows ways for change from the outside and from the inside.

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Tourism in the Holy Land

 

We want to promote new and creative ways of tourism activities which place human encounters at the core of the interaction between visitors and the people in the host country.

 

Palestine and Israel can hardly be divided into two tourist destinations, their tourist attractions and holy places are one entity, also referred to as the Holy Land (a term which can include Jordan, too). While it is nowadays impossible to geographically separate Palestine from Israel, tourism takes place predominately outside of the areas where Palestinians live: the majority of the tourism infrastructure is located in Israel and the itineraries are mostly controlled by Israeli tour operators. Touristic sites in the Palestinian territories, such as the northern part Dead Sea, are exploited exclusively by the Israeli tourism industry.

 

At the same time, Palestinian service providers and host communities are marginalised and struggle hard to take part in the activities of this Holy Land tourism. They are not allowed to access and promote certain areas in the Palestinian Territories and in Israel. The time has come to make Palestinian voices heard, to let Palestinian tour operators and host communities play an equal role in tourism and to enable Palestinians to reach out to tourists and to let tourists encounter Palestinians on a human level.

 

We believe that one way to more fairness and justice is when tourists visit both Israel and Palestine and experience the situation themselves. Such an experience will help them to understand the context in which tourism takes place and will enrich all sides through human encounters.

 

visit palestine

 

Tourism in Palestine provides visitors with a particularly rewarding and enriching experience. Not only may the tourist discover the beauty, spirituality and hospitality of the country but also come to encounter some of the political, economic, and social facts on the ground that shape the daily lives of Palestinians. Travelling around the Holy Land with open eyes and minds allows both visitors and Palestinian host communities to benefit from the tourism experience. Instead of rushing through Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity under time pressure without noticing the expressions on the faces of the people of Bethlehem, visitors have much to gain from taking their time: People will stop for a chat with them, they will be invited for coffee, they can taste tasty dishes and listen to local music, and they can get their own personal impression while wandering around the open-air markets (souqs) which still exist in many Palestinian cities.

 

We believe that one reason for the rushed visits of Bethlehem in large tourism coaches is because much of the itinerary and the tourism services is controlled by Israel and the Israeli tourism industry. Through our Code of Conduct, we seek to contribute to re-engage the tourist with the Palestinian land and people. This should be done in such a way that will benefit local communities, reduce over exploitation of a small number of touristic sites, and reduce the pollution that results from coach-driven mass tourism in the few Palestinian cities that succeed in being part of itineraries.

 

 
 
 

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