West Bank officials contemplate 'tourism fee' on visitors

Municipality officials argue that the "symbolic fee" would help improve tourist services.

May 2, 2015 17:58
1 minute read.
bethlehem christmas

THOUSANDS OF Palestinians and foreign visitors await the arrival of the Latin Patriarch at Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas eve.. (photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Palestinian municipalities in the West Bank are mulling over the idea of imposing a "tourist fee" on those planning to visit certain cities like Ramallah and Bethlehem, a senior Palestinian official said Friday.

Deputy Mayor of Bethlehem Issam Juha said the fee was merely "symbolic" and would only amount to one US dollar, but added that the extra income could help improve tourist services while visitors trek through the historic city.

"Tourists have so far been receiving services for free, and now we are considering a mechanism to make them pay a fee which would help us improve public services, including wireless internet, maps and tour signs," Juha told the Palestinian Ma'an news agency.

Yet, Dr. Hamda Taha, an expert on Palestinian tourism, warned that instituting new visitor fees could have unforeseen negative consequences on overall international tourism to Palestine.

"Services must be offered to tourists if they have to pay fees, but they can't be asked to pay fees just for visiting a city. Such a move would drive tourists away and have a negative impact."

He said that tourism yields revenue through hotels and restaurants, and that there there should be mechanisms "to attract tourists and encourage them to stay longer and enjoy services, rather than paying taxes," Ma'an added.

Thirty-five hotels with an estimated 3,500 rooms housed close to 800,000 visitors to Bethlehem in 2014, which saw over 2.5 million overall visitors to the Palestinian territories.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

LGBT flag
May 26, 2019
Why is Iran’s PressTV labeling LGBT lessons 'immoral' in U.K.?