The Palestinians said Monday, April 9, they have lost $150 million in tourism revenue during the past six months of violence, on top of material damage to its tourism infrastructure.
Palestinian tourism minister Mitri Abu Eita told reporters in Bethlehem that tourism had been "severely damaged" by Israel's closure of Palestinian towns and villages as well as by shooting and shelling attacks on tourist sites.
He said the biblical towns of Bethlehem and Jericho had been the worst affected with top hotels in both towns being hit by Israeli shells since the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation broke out late last September.
Abu Eita said some 350,000 foreign tourists had visited Bethlehem in December 1999, compared with just 1,630 visitors in the same month last year, adding that half a million trips to the Palestinian territories were cancelled for the last three months of 2000.
"Tourism has been affected by the closure, since Israel has shut off Palestinian towns and villages and stopped tourists and pilgrims from visiting," Abu Aita told a press conference. — (AFP, Bethlehem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)