After the shopping mall and several fancy restaurants, Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip have recently invested around $20 million in new seaside and tourist
According to sources in there, thousands of Palestinian families
have started visiting the resorts, which offer a wide range of
The boom in the local tourism industry is largely attributed
to the fact that the underground smuggling business along the border has become
less profitable since Israel’s recent decision to allow various goods into the
Gaza Strip reduced prices of many items significantly.
Israeli and Egyptian crackdown on the underground tunnels has made it too risky
and expensive to continue operating them. Dozens of Palestinians have been
killed while working in the tunnels over the past few years.
As a result,
many investors who used to put a lot of money into the smuggling business have
shifted their attention to other projects, including the seaside
Samir Saed, owner of Crazy Water Park in Gaza City, said that
until now, restaurants had been the only entertainment sites for most families.
He rejected allegations that the owners of the resorts were charging high fees
and offering expensive food. He said his resort was charging only NIS 10 per
person for a variety of attractions, including a clean beach and
Ahmed Sani, owner of one of the city’s fancy tourist
resorts, said he established his business after renting a plot on the beach from
the Hamas-run municipality.
“I’m renting for a period of five years,” he
told the Hamas-affiliated Web site Al-Resalah. “It’s in the interest of the
citizen to have as many resorts as possible so that there could be
Mueen Abu Khair, owner of a popular seaside fish
restaurant, said the Gaza Strip had witnessed a “revolution” this summer in the
field of local tourism. He estimated that local businessmen had so far invested
$15m. to $20m. in an unprecedented number of tourist projects throughout the
“Many investors now prefer to put their money in businesses that
are safe and more profitable than the underground tunnels,” said economist Mueen
Rajab. “Most of the money is now being invested in vehicles, restaurants,
supermarkets, boutiques and stores for electrical appl