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TWiP Promotes a Unique Tourism Destination

By Tony Khashram

The 300th issue of This Week in Palestine (TWiP) is a cause for celebration, both in Palestine and abroad. This English-language periodical highlights the most pressing issues for Palestinians based locally and in the diaspora. Readers learn about topics ranging from history to the economy, agriculture, and tourism.As an accredited tourism consultant, I can attest to the fact that the platform that TWiP offers to tourism professionals is invaluable. Almost every edition highlights an aspect of the tourism industry – the various service providers, the unique experiences available, and the challenges of working under the occupation and the current Palestinian government.

TWiP has showcased new ideas about tourism in Palestine, going beyond the “traditional” packages. Readers have been introduced to local wineries, Palestinian sweets and treats, and the savory dishes we were raised on. The fields of adventure and ecotourism have been promoted alongside traditional religious and cultural itineraries. Spotlights have been placed on smaller communities such as the Bedouins, the Armenians, and the Samaritans. Sites and shrines in Palestine have been detailed, as well as regions and provinces, giving readers the opportunity to prepare a trip or take an imaginary, even virtual journey across the country.

TWiP’s readership is much broader than the audience that we tourism professionals can reach through traditional marketing. Local Palestinians are introduced to gems in their own backyards, expats experience a Palestine that differs from the one beset by political and security concerns that they encounter at work, and diaspora Palestinians can reconnect to their roots even while living abroad. Tourists, visitors, and pilgrims who come to our destination eagerly take copies of TWiP issues that are displayed in the reception areas and on the front desks of the hotels they are staying at. Expats and the personnel of foreign missions and nongovernmental organizations read and save the information-filled publications as a reference to use for their work or during leisure times as they explore their surroundings.

Despite the obstacles that Palestinians face, the local tourism industry has flourished, and we tour operators function at the same level as our colleagues abroad, offering excellence, efficiency, and decades of experience. All Palestinian tourism service providers have been cited and many have published articles in TWiP editions over the years, enabling readers to keep learning about the tourism products and services that are available on the ground and, most importantly, to appreciate the Palestinian narrative of our country’s history and heritage. Moreover, the featured monthly exhibitions and introductions to artists reveal parts of the cultural tourism offering.

I am proud to be a part of this burgeoning industry and appreciative to TWiP for the opportunity to share my experience. This cultural magazine is an indispensable resource for Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike – and I hope to be able to write a similar piece for the 400th issue in a few years.

  • Tony Khashram is an accredited tourism consultant for Palestine and the founder and managing director of Aeolus Tours in Jerusalem. He is committed to supporting the Palestinian economy and GDP by strengthening the tourism sector. In the past, Mr. Khashram has served as president of the Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association; he has been working in the Palestinian tourism industry for more than 40 years.

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