Touring to both Israel and the Palestinian Territories is getting even easier. A new Palestinian and Israeli experiential tourism project, Breaking Bread Journeys, aims to reach tourists seeking to engage with locals and visit important biblical and other sites. The new program was created by two tour operators, Christina Samara, a Palestinian and owner of Samara Tourist and Travel Agency, and Elisa Moed, founder of Israel-based Travelujah. Both women were introduced by Tony Blair’s Quartet Initiative and are launching this new tourism concept with the support of the United States Agency for International Development under the Compete Project in the West Bank, which emphasizes economic development, including tourism, as a path to peace and stability.
“We realized that travel brings people together in many positive ways and helps in the pursuit of stability, prosperity and peace in the entire Holy Land,” said Christina Samara. “So we designed a set of very special Palestinian and Israeli cultural and historic tours that include many of the classical sites that both of our companies have long been offering.”
“However, we believed that what tourists really want is to experience the land in a personal way and we knew that by working together we could provide authentic experiences that would otherwise be virtually impossible,” explained Elisa Moed. “Each of our experiences provides opportunities for small groups to engage directly with local communities. These include experiences for faith-based clientele, as well as other market segments that are keen to learn and enjoy local traditional cuisine, art, and music and, of course, break bread with the people of the land.”
Photo credit: Travelujah; Breaking bread journeys engaging with Palestian womens in Nablus
Tourism to the Holy Land is important for both Israelis and Palestinians. In 2012, the Israeli tourism industry received 3.5 million visitors, and the Palestinian tourism industry received over 1.8 million visitors. In fact, visitors to the Palestinian Territories increased over 40% from 2007 to 2012 – a positive sign that the region can safely receive increasing numbers of visitors.
“We are exhibiting at the World Travel Market from November 4th to the 7th at EM575 and look forward to meeting tour operators, media and organizations interested in offering our rich, comprehensive cultural experiences in the Holy Land,” said Samara.
Samara Tourist and Travel Agency is being supported in the development of this initiative by the United States Agency for International Development through their COMPETE project in the West Bank as part of the Agency’s strategy to develop the Palestinian tourism sector and to make a significant impact in job creation and increased investment.
For more information, contact Christina Samara at +970-54-237-5288 or Elisa Moed at +970-52-744-4033. They can also be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The website is www.breakingbreadjourneys.com