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3.1 million visits to tourist sites in West Bank in first half of 2018

Sept. 28, 2018 10:55 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2018 12:37 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Marking World Tourism Day on Thursday, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MOTA) released a joint report stating that there were more than 3.1 million visits to touristic sites in the occupied West Bank during the first half of 2018.

The report stated that the visits included 1.48 million visits by inbound visitors and 1.65 million visits by domestic visitors. The number of inbound visits increased by 5.8% compared to the first half of 2017.

Most inbound visits were to the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem comprising 35% of the visits, followed by Jericho and the Jordan Valley districts at 30%, and Nablus and Jenin districts at 13% and 11% respectively.

Palestinians residing in areas occupied in 1948 accounted for the largest proportion of inbound visitors at 47% with 694,000 visits, followed by arrivals from the United States by 7% with 110,000 visits, Russia by 7% with 106,000 visits, Poland by 4% with 52,000 visits and Romania by 3% with 44,000 visits, while 32% were from other nationalities with 473,000 visits.

It is noteworthy, that inbound and domestic visitors' data do not include Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The final findings of the Tourism Satellite Accounts for 2016 in Palestine indicate that the total consumption on inbound tourism showed a decrease by 5.8% in 2016 compared to 2014. The consumption on inbound tourism totaled to $1,019.3 million in the year 2016, including both overnight stay visitors and same day visitors compared to $1,082.3 million in the year 2014.

While the consumption on domestic tourism totaled $129 million and the consumption on outbound tourism by Palestinians abroad was $388 million during 2016.

The report added that the number of hotel guests in the West Bank reached 301,422 in the first half of 2018; they spent 893,890 nights. When compared with the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, the number of guests increased by 55.6% and 16% respectively.

The total number of guests was distributed by region as follows: 68.7% of total guests in southern West Bank hotels, mainly in Bethlehem; 18.1% in Jerusalem; 5.4% in the central West Bank, including Ramallah, al-Bireh, Jericho, and Jordan Valley; and 7.8% in the northern West Bank.

In June 2018, there were 130 hotels in the West Bank comprising 7,390 available rooms with 16,217 beds.

According to the results of the Palestinian Population, Housing and Establishments Census in 2017, the number of establishments operating in the tourism sector reached 11,943 establishments during 2017, with 36,861 employees, constituting 8.3% of the total number of employees in the Palestinian establishments.

The total number of employees in the tourism activities is distributed as follows: 62.9% working in food and beverage service activities, 13.4% works in amusement and recreation activities, 9% working in accommodation activities, 6.3% manufacture and sale of handicrafts and souvenirs, 3.3% travel agency, tour operator, reservation service and related activities, and 5.1% of the employees are distributed on the rest of tourism activities.

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