Over the last months, HLITOA conducted a study among local and international tour operators seeking their perception of the touristic offer in the northern parts of the West Bank/Palestine. On November, 30th 2017 the results where presented to HLITOA members and representatives of the PMDP.
The study HLITOA conducted had been supported by the Palestinian Market Development Program (PMDP) in order to identify potentials, but also shortcomings of the touristic offer in the northern West Bank/Palestine. A total of 35 responses from 17 countries had been received until November, 30th.
The survey is still open and can be filled here.
The highest numbers of responders came from the United States, Palestine, the UK, and Israel which accounted for 54% of all replies.
Result Overview aND KEY FINDINGS
The survey asked for the perception of the northern West Bank/Palestine as a touristic destination in general and asked also for specific sites and how they are viewed and rated in matters of different factors. Some key findings are summarized below.
Please inquire at HLITOA to get the full results of the study.
- 34% of the surveyors answered with “No” for the question of if they have destinations from the northern West Bank/ Palestine in their current tours, while the remaining 66% answered with “Yes”.
- 45.7% of the survey responders answered that they know that there is a route, known as “Nativity Trail” from Nazareth to Bethlehem passing through northern Palestine, while 54.3% of the responders do not know about the “Nativity Trail” route.
- 51% of the responders said that they include a visit to Sebastia in their tours (49% do not).
- Asked, why they do not include Sebastia in their tours,
- 42.9% chose “security situation” as their main reason,
- 21,4% chose “lack of information about the area”,
- 21.4% chose that their Palestinian / Israeli agents would not offer such tours,
- 14,3% said that the low demand on such tours is considered the reason for not sending tourists to this area.
However the number of responders was comparable small with only 35 submissions, some recommendations can be derived from the analysis. One key obstacle to developing tourism in Palestine’s north is a lack of (good) promotional material and site information.
When asked what would help or encourage operators to send more or to first of all consider to send their clients to the northern West Bank/Palestine,
- 44% said that they would “need (better) promotional material for the region and its touristic offer“,
- 40% said that they would “need to travel to the region” for themselves and “to explore it“,
- 16% said that they would “need (more) general information about the region in general and its touristic offer“.
These results concur with HLITOA’s general obervations over the past years, that the touristic offer itself – in fact all across Palestine and not only in the northern region – is well received and attractive, but to date not sufficiently known on a broad level locally and internationally.
HLITOA will therefore intensify its efforts to promote the Palestinian touristic offer on a broader scale to both, business clients (tour operators, travel agencies etc.) as well as to end-clients/travelers locally and on international level and will also address the perceived security sitation which is continously named as a key obstacle by operators abroad.
At the same time, HLITOA will dedicate its efforts to create a wider range of marketing material covering both, the traditional touristic offer (holy sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Wilderness and Jericho area etc.) as well as lesser known, but not less important sites like the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old City of Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin governorate and new offers like hiking, biking or other outdoor actitivies.
With its newly published Sales Guide for the Holy Land, HLITOA created a handbook for tour operators interested to broaden their Holy Land offer, while in January 2018, HLITOA will participate in the largest end-client travel fair, the CMT, in Stuttgart Germany as part of its ongoing efforts to promote the wider Holy Land.