Factors Impact on Religious Tourism Market: The Case of the Palestinian Territories

Jafar Subhi Hardan Suleiman, Badaruddin Mohamed

Abstract


Palestine, the home of the world’s three major religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Hence, is considered
as the first center of tourism due to the coming of these three major world faiths flocking to Palestine to engage
in sacred pilgrimages. Some of these sites which are frequently visited are Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jericho,
Bethlehem and Hebron. Palestine was for many centuries a destination of pilgrims and visitors of Muslims and
Christians from all over the world. Unfortunately, Palestine after the 1948 War fell under the Israeli Occupation
and was exposed to many catastrophes up until this time; all this led to the instability and the decrease in the
number of tourists to Palestine; which had become a dangerous area which reduced the flow of tourism in
general. At the same time, came the peace negotiations between the PLO (Palestinian liberation organization)
and Israel in Oslo which was signed in Washington in 1993. In this period there was an economic recovery and
tourism in the Palestinian Territories, especially in the West Bank and Gaza Strip started to once again flourish.
The Primary purpose of this paper is to show the significance of the religious tourism in Palestine and influence
of conflict on Palestinian tourism; also indicated which factors impacts on Palestinian tourism as well.
This paper concludes that Palestine is unique, due to its history, heritage, culture, geographic location,
environment and religions. This study suggests to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Palestine to create
new forms to protect the Islamic and Christian places in Palestine as well as to encourage more tourists to visit.
Peace is considered as a vital strategy for enhancing the Palestinian tourism industry.


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