$2.4 million to maximize the economic impact of community tourism in rural West Bank communities [EN/AR] – occupied Palestinian territory
Jerusalem, April 4, 2022 – A $2.4 million grant from the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) will help increase economic opportunities and improve livelihoods for Palestinians in fragile communities along the Heritage Trail Palestinians across the West Bank. The World Bank project will focus on creating economic opportunities for women and youth in community tourism enterprises.
The new World Bank project will help maximize the economic impact of community-based tourism as a development tool in marginalized communities, connecting Palestinian identity, history, people, tradition and culture and reaching women and young people.
“We welcome Japan’s support for community tourism. Building on the success of the previous intervention, the Palestinian Heritage Trail will strengthen ties between communities and the private sector. Not only will visitors experience the beauty of the cultural trail and the incredible diversity of landscapes, but the new grant will also help promote the economic and social empowerment of vulnerable communities and households,” said Kanthan Shankar, Country Director of the Bank. world for the West. Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinian territories are facing long-lasting instability, exacerbated macroeconomic volatility and growing unemployment for more than a quarter of the population. Job losses have affected vulnerable groups with higher than average unemployment rates, reaching 41% for women (against 21% for men) and 40% for young people.
While tourism activities accounted for 2.5% of GDP in 2018, it was one of the first and hardest hit by COVID-19. The sector has lost more than $1 billion in revenue since the pandemic began. In the West Bank, the pandemic has particularly affected geographical areas with a higher density of marginalized people, some of whom live below the poverty line.
“Programs that target specific geographies and focus on marginalized people are key to achieving rapid growth and inclusive job creation and mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the West Bank. I firmly believe that the improvement of the tourism sector will be an important element for the recovery of the Palestinian economy. In this regard, Japan has promoted the “Corridor for Tourism” project, including the newly constructed shelter for Hisham’s Palace in Jericho, which will not only contribute to regional cooperation in the tourism sector, but also attract many tourists in the region, including Palestine,” said Masayuki Magoshi, Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs.
Tourism focused on nature hikes and walks is resilient and able to rebound quickly in post-shock situations. In the Palestinian case, the number of domestic tourists on the trails has increased even in fragile and violent circumstances and major shocks, providing residents with the opportunity to participate in healthy and safe activities.
The project to be implemented by the Palestinian Heritage Trail will leverage the existing community tourism network to support vulnerable communities, including households, micro and small businesses, and daily wage workers. To do this, it will reconnect them first to the internal market, then to international markets, if necessary.
West Bank and Gaza
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