A $58 million contract to foster Palestinian economic development -- which includes plans to help steer tourists away from Israel and into the West Bank and Gaza -- was awarded yesterday by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
As U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor reported (April 20, 2011) last spring:
Despite the richness and variety of sites across Palestinian land, "the vast majority of religious tourists confine their visits to brief visits to the religious sites in Bethlehem. Since tourists often visit Bethlehem and then return to Jerusalem, they often spend little or no money in Palestine," the RFP says.
"The tourism strategy must be to induce these visitors to spend more time in Palestine, visiting alternative sites, eating in local restaurants, staying overnight in Palestinian hotels, hiring Palestinian guides, and buying Palestinian souvenirs."
Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), a Bethesda, Md.-based contractor, will carry out the Enterprise Development for Global Competitiveness, or EDGC, project on USAID' s behalf.(Contract award #AID-294-C-12-00001).
Although the original solicitation revealed this plan to divert tourists to Palestinian businesses, the ambitious endeavor likewise will involve efforts to promote the development of Palestinian agriculture and agribusiness, stone and marble, and information technology sectors.