Guesthouses in Palestine is an ongoing project which has grown out of my work on the 2011 edition of the Bradt Guide to Palestine, the only mainstream travel guide in English to Palestine. Researching the guidebook in autumn 2010, I found that since the Second Intifada, communities all over the West Bank had decided that attracting visitors was an important way of generating local income and jobs, and also a means of showing people from all over the world the realities (both good and bad) of life in Palestine, away from the stereotypes and prejudice of the conventional media.
The main problem for many of these guesthouses has been publicising themselves. Most do not have the resources to set up bespoke websites or conduct marketing campaigns, and they are not usually represented by the official Arab Hotels Association or Ministry of Tourism websites, which concentrate on larger hotels. There’s a common, and erroneous, perception that there are no affordable places to stay in Palestine and that budget travellers have to stay in hostels in the Old City or East Jerusalem and see the West Bank through short excursions. This, combined with the Israeli tour buses which whisk tourist groups in and out, telling them that Palestinians are hostile and dangerous, means that the Palestinian economy is missing out on an important market, and independent travellers in Palestine miss out on great opportunities to meet local people, eat local food and see parts of Palestine which mainstream tourism doesn’t cover.
For a selection of guidebooks which can help independent travellers to get the most out of visiting Palestine, see here.
There are many ways to come to Palestine: this website helps to make doing so more interesting and affordable.
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