CROSSDEV: 15 agreements signed to boost community-based tourism in Palestine
As part of the activities of the CROSSDEV project, the Palestinian partner Masar Ibrahim al Khalil (MIAK) organized three meetings on December 3rd, 5th and 10th.
Held at the local authorities’ buildings, the meetings focused on two main objectives: introducing communities’ actors and stakeholders to the notion of community-based tourism and presenting CROSSDEV’s objectives and planned activities.
Within the three meetings, MIAK has signed 15 agreements with the local authorities (7 Municipalities and 8 Local Councils) that will be touched by the new segment of the Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil trail, which is a long-distance, cultural walking trail in Palestine. The route is 330 km long and extends from the village of Rumana (North-West of Jenin) to Beit Mirsim (South-West of Hebron). The trail passes through 53 cities and villages where hikers, walkers and travellers can experience the legendary Palestinian hospitality. The CROSSDEV project will work on a new segment of such trail, which will start from Beit Mirsim (South Hebron) and will end in Battir (West Bethlehem governances), for a total length of 50 Km.
First meeting: Beit Awaa, South Hebron, December 3rd, 2019
The first meeting saw the participation of many authorities, such as a delegation from the City of Hebron, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MOTA), mayors and heads of the local institutions. Among the participants, also members of the local touth, women and touristic organizations from the communities of Beit Mirsim, Al-Kum, Sikeh, Deir al-Asal, Deir Samet, Beit ar-Rush al-Faqua and Beit ar-Rush at-Tahta.
Masar Ibrahim is playing a leading role in Palestine. We, as the Ministry of Tourism, are happy to attend today’s meeting so to stress the role of MIAK on tourism both locally and internationally.
Second meeting: Battir village, December 5th, 2019
The second meeting took place in Battir village and saw the participation of local communities from Jab’a, Hussan and Wad Fokeen, a number of service providers, SMEs and representatives from Wildlife Society, Palestinian partners of Med Pearls, another ENI CBC Med project focused on Sustainable Tourism. They introduced their project and stressed the possible cooperation with MIAK and CROSSDEV project activities.
Third meeting: Edna, December 10th, 2019
The third meeting involved representatives from the villages of Tarkomia, Surif, Beit Ola and Edna. Among the most prominent participants, the Hebron Governorate, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, youth institutions from Sourif Municipality, and representatives from CROSSDEV Lead Beneficiary NGO, CISP Palestine.
The new 50 km segment will play a major role in activating community-based tourism in 16 marginalized communities and will create new job opportunities for women and youth. Therefore, it will be a tool to develop these communities both economically and socially. I am really happy to see the positive reaction of the locals to this new idea. They have expressed their willingness to get involved and play an important role in activating tourism in their villages and cities. Those places are so rich in tangible and intangible heritage and have a number of neglected historical sites that are not properly preserved. Understanding that CROSSDEV will work to promote and preserve such sites, the community members have welcomed us very warmly.
CROSSDEV objective is contributing to the economic and social development in Mediterranean, and it is co-funded by the European Union through the ENI CBC MED Programme. CROSSDEV strengthens and enhances sustainable tourism practices, emphasizing common heritage and resources. Specifically, the proejct intends to increase touristic competitiveness and attractiveness of less-known destinations and rural/depressed areas, adopting the Cultural Routes concept in selected areas of 4 countries: Italy, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.