For the past three years, Dr. Deibes served as the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities. Coming from the background of being the head of a cultural heritage center in Bethlehem, her positioning in this filed has chosen to be the right choice. The proof is not her personality or her speeches but rather what the industry has accomplished during her era – a golden one under well-known circumstances. Even before, her traces are well found in the old city streets of Bethlehem and in many other corners. In the educational field, she introduced many opportunities and initiatives such as the EU Tempus Masters program with Bethlehem University, along with many others.
Today, to crown her term in 2010, the tourism contribution within the Palestinian GDP is the highest since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. Its share is almost 15%, up from less than 10% last year. It is estimated at US$885 million. Once again, the hotels of Palestine reached their record number at 90 hotels, in addition to more than 40 guest houses and other hostels. Another Palestinian record this year is the giant number in local tourists – 2.7 million, which is almost double from last year. Together with incoming tourists, they are very close to the 5 million mark. With this number, the Palestinian tourism industry has passed a benchmark that has never been reached in the past, and the country is still under occupation.
The story continues here.
The last statement quoted above raises a question. When were Palestinians most recently not under occupation? You can cast your vote below. (Email readers may need to click through to vote.)
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UPDATE (12/8): As most participants in this poll know, the Palestinians of the West Bank have been under occupation since 1967 by Israel, under occupation 1948-67 by Jordan, 1917-1948 by the British, and 1517-1917 by the Turks.