04:04
Reported

News Brief

  6/22/2010, Tammuz 10, 5770

Israeli Tour Guides Return to Bethlehem


On Monday, 50 Jewish and Druze Israeli tour guides and drivers selected by lottery from 500 applicants arrived for a briefing at the Etzion Regional Brigade, as part of a seminar in preparation for the entrance of Israeli tour guides into the city of Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. It's the first time since the Arab uprising of 2000 that Israeli tour guides have been given permission to enter the city, as part of a policy intended to contribute to the Palestinian Authority and Israeli economies and promote tourism.

The new pilot project from the Tourism Ministry and the Civil Administration is a result of many requests from the tourism industry - tour guides, travel agencies, tour operators and tourists themselves - who have asked that the professional guides accompanying the groups during their visit to Israel be allowed to continue guiding them during their visit to Bethlehem. In the last two years, cooperation between the Tourism Ministry and the tourism entities in the Palestinian Authority has been strengthened and joint activities to promote tourism have generated over a million visitors and tourists to Bethlehem in 2008 and more than 1.3 million in 2009.