As tourists disappear, Jerusalem lays out plan for future

The municipal development authority plans to focus on future rather than standstill of today

HUNDREDS OF tourists walk towards Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
HUNDREDS OF tourists walk towards Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
COVID-19 has swiftly managed to change the global landscape, affecting almost all work fields and professions. Jerusalem has been no exception, yet its officials have refused to raise their hands in surrender.
The Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) has set out a plan for a framework of operations that will focus the city on the future rather than on the standstill of the present. 
The municipality plans to make use of advanced technologies to bring back one of its main sources of income: tourism. With flights halted and potential tourists stranded at home for their own safety, it is finding ways to bring the city abroad.
One of the city’s initiatives includes the interactive website Jerusalem is Traveling 2U, through which followers have been able to view religious ceremonies during the past holidays of the three major religions. They now will be able to enjoy a large range of activities, such as virtual tours with professional guides, cooking classes, shopping and more.
Via existing technologies, Jerusalem will be able to accurately monitor the number of visitors at each venue at any given point. Using this tool, the city will be able to reopen businesses in a safe manner, a move that will bring a much-needed economic boost.
The JDA also intends to bring life itself back to Jerusalem. One idea brought forward is to have local chefs and restaurant owners take the wheel and set out for neighborhoods, where they will be able to sell their signature meals.
This will be facilitated by a prepaid signup system to avoid long waits in line. In full coordination with the municipality, we will be able to give notice to residents of the relevant neighborhoods, allowing them to obtain out-of-the-ordinary meals. This will not only be beneficial to those stranded at home, it will also become a permanent feature in the city. 
Another project being put together is the marketing of single-day traveling packages. By monitoring the number of travelers per area, we will be able to offer the general public the ability to safely visit the many sites and attractions the city has to offer. This method will be crucial until we regain full control over coronavirus and return to the reality we once knew.
Jerusalem is no stranger to crises. As part of a no-cancellation policy created in order to cope with unexpected events, it sees itself as a potential leader in the recovery of the global travel industry. Equipped with a crisis management toolbox, the JDA is in a unique position to blaze the trail back to normal routines.
A major goal of ours is to enact a voluntary health treaty with hotels that will give guests peace of mind, knowing they are staying in a secure environment. It seems the travel ecosystem will shift its focus from general security to hygiene security, and we fully intend on leading the way as our followers and visitors return to Jerusalem.
We look forward to welcoming them – and all visitors – with open arms.
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