To prepare your trip to Palestine, we encourage you to consider including the following in your preparation:
- Choose an inclusive and balanced itinerary that allows you to visit and stay in different places.
- Educate yourself by reading guidebooks, travel accounts and articles about current news and events.
- Establish contact with Palestinians to get up-to-date information about the current situation, safety, local history, culture and customs.
- Approach travelling with a desire to learn rather than just observe. Leave prejudices behind.
Adopting a considerate attitude towards the people you encounter, the environment, and host communities when travelling in Palestine helps to make sure that your trip is beneficial both for you as a tourist and for the hosts.
- Your attitude:
- Respect and learn about the local culture. Although taking pictures is in general welcome, be aware of people's sensitivity about being photographed; always ask first for their approval.
- Observe local customs. Respect local dress codes and dress modestly.
- Interact and spend time with local people. Be aware that your cultural values may differ from theirs. They may, for example, have different concepts of time, personal space, communication and society. Other values are not wrong or inferior, just different.
- Your behaviour:
- Be aware of short-sighted emotional reactions, such as giving money out of compassion. This can be offensive.
- Make sure that you encounter and engage with the local communities who are struggling for the respect of their dignity.
- Support communities in a responsible way, without encouraging them to change their customs in order to adopt yours.
- When visiting holy sites, allow members of the respective religious community to guide you.
- Your use of natural resources:
- Co-operate with locals in conserving precious natural resources. Commit yourself to a moderate use when possible.
- Be open to experience local standards rather than expecting to find the same conditions as in your home town and/or country.
- Support the local economy:
- Appreciate local expertise by paying adequately.
- Buy local products.
- Contribute to ensuring that tourism has a beneficial outcome for the local community.
- Use local transportation, guides, accommodation, restaurants and markets to benefit the local economy. Consider giving tips where customary.
- Remember that the people you encounter have lived under military occupation for many years. Be sensitive when discussing related topics and listen to their points of view.
- Be inspired by the pilgrim's journey: take your time to live and experience the daily life of the local people.
When you return from Palestine do not hesitate to share your experiences with friends and relations. Your Palestinian hosts will be very happy to know that you keep them in your mind and that you tell their and your stories. In this way, you can strengthen the human side of tourism and enhance its benefits to communities and individuals.
- Share your experience:
- Think of creating links between your community and the community you visited.
- Tell the stories of the people you met.
- Discuss and debrief with other members of your group (if you travelled together with others).
- Share with your family; inform your community; write articles.
- Stick to the commitments you made during your trip:
- Remember the promises you made to the local people you met and honour them.
- Keep the people in your thoughts, pray for them and act when your actions are needed.
- Allow yourself to be enriched by learning experiences:
- Question your stereotypes/generalisations, both the ones you had before the trip and the ones emerging from your experience abroad.
- Address prejudices and injustice where you meet them.
- Take action:
- Learn about the involvement and responsibilities of your home country in the Middle East. Expose and confront them when they have been unfair.
- Address statements you do not agree with, such as inaccurate tourism brochures, stereotyped views of Palestine in conversation and inaccurate or biased media portrayals.