The Tourism Ministry has allocated an initial NIS 2 million to develop rural tourism projects that will add 300 guest rooms in Druse and Circassian towns in the Galilee. "Developing the tourism industry in the peripheries, where 85 percent of rural tourism is concentrated, will help reduce unemployment and close social and financial gaps," ministry director-general Shaul Tzemach said. "The Tourism Ministry will continue to assist investors to realize the potential of the rural tourism industry." As part of a three-year plan, the ministry is granting the initial budget to Druse and Circassian entrepreneurs during 2008, with an additional budget of NIS 6m. allocated for the same purpose in 2009. The plan covers 14 Galilee towns where guest rooms will be built, including Abu Sinan, Julis, Hurfeish, Mughar and Peki'in. The assistance is given as part of a government plan for 2006-2009 for the development of minority towns with a total budget of NIS 8m. The current expenditure aims to add 300 guest rooms to the 225 rooms that are being operated in Druse and Circassian towns. Financial assistance has already been authorized to 38 entrepreneurs who agreed to build 133 guest units. The ministry's aid, covering 24% of the investments, is conditional on finishing construction within two years and operating the units as guest rooms for tourists for five years. In addition, the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee are working together to promote tourist projects at a total investment of NIS 27m. In 2007, the Tourism Ministry assisted in the building of 180 guest rooms in the North and offered the services of its advisory department for developing rural tourism, including marketing the projects to potential clients.