Under the Auspices of H.E. Prime Minister Al Hamdallah - The European Union and UNDP Inaugurate the Newly Revitalized Khan Al Wakaleh Tourism Site in Nablus

Aug 21, 2017

UNDP Representative, Roberto Valent, speaking at the Khan Al Wakaleh Tourism Site

Nablus, 21 August 2017 – His Excellency EU Representative Ralf Tarraf, UNDP Representative Roberto Valent, together with the Mayor of Nablus, Engineer Adli Ya’eesh and Governor of Nablus Mr Akram Rujoob marked the opening of the newly revitalized Khan Al Wakalah historical site in Nablus. It is estimated that around 40,000 local and international visitors are expected to visit the site annually.

"The historic sites in Palestine are not only important for their cultural and heritage values -some of them being designated as World Heritage - but also for their promising economic potential.  Therefore, the EU is investing a total of 5 million Euros in reviving two Palestinian iconic sites: Khan Al Wakalah in Nablus and Maqam Nabi Mousa near Jericho, " said the EU Representative Ralph Tarraf. "As we celebrate the inauguration of Khan Al Wakalah, we are looking forward to see Palestinians and international tourists filling up these rooms and enjoying the chance to discover the hidden gems of Nablus."

The project, which integrates socio-economic development with cultural heritage, has transformed the historic Khan Al Wakalah complex in Nablus into a tourist hub. Through the deployment of the first Public-Private Partnership model in the management and operation of cultural sites, 21 rooms were rehabilitated to be used as a boutique hotel and guest house, in addition to the 11 shops that were upgraded on location for serving the economic purposes of the compound. Over 1,600 jobs were created during the implementation process and around 100 sustainable direct and in direct job opportunities will be created for the Nablus community as a result of the project.

The Mayor of Nablus, Engineer Adli Ya’eesh highlighted “For Palestinians, our wealth is in our culture and historical heritage, it is in our cities and sites.  Nablus has some of the most important historical sites that can be a source of national income if invested in. Revitalizing the old city requires cooperation at all levels and empowering youth is critical to maintain our Palestinian cultural identity”.                                  

In addition to rehabilitation works, support was also provided in the form of on-the-job-training and capacity development to the Municipality of Nablus and the private sector company in charge of managing the guesthouse, restaurant and shopping area of the Khan. 

Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, highlighted the importance of revitalizing Khan Al Wakalah historical site in creating new job opportunities for young men and women and creating a new enabling economic environment at Nablus City. "Tourism is a lever for sustainable development. This project is a result of a fruitful partnership between the EU, UNDP and various Palestinian institutions with the aim of contributing to economic growth, boost tourism, protect cultural heritage and activate Public-Private Partnership,” said Mr Valent.  “This project is another way of translating the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a better future and improved livelihoods,” he added.

The Khan Al Wakalah project is part of a Euro 5 million EU funded programme, implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, local communities and other relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector. The programme aims at supporting the development of cultural tourism in the State of Palestine, through the engagement of the private sector through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The two sites targeted by this pilot initiative are Khan Al Wakalah in Nablus and Maqam Nabi Musa in the Jericho governorate.

The event, which took place at Khan Al Wakaleh historical site on 21 August 2017, showcased folk dance performances and live music, sampling of Palestinian traditional food and a tour around the site.  

Contact information

The Office of the European Union Representative 

Shadi Othman (02 5415 867, 0599 673 958); Inas Abu Shirbi (02 541 5 859, 0599 673 957)

http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PAPP)

Dania Darwish, Tel. +972 2 6268229 – e-mail: dania.darwish@undp.org http://www.ps.undp.org