Meeting with Rula Maayah, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in the Palestinian Territories was pleased to meet Mrs. Rula Maayah, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities. Mr. Marc Frings, Resident Representative of the KAS in Ramallah introduced her to our goals and field of work, and gave an overview about the KAS partners. He especially pointed out KAS´s long lasting support to the rule of law sector through our strategic partner, the Institute of Law (IOL) at Birzeit University. Besides KAS is also working closely with the Institute for Community Partnership (ICP), at Bethlehem University. KAS and the ICP jointly conduct an Administrative Diploma Program, in which the Minster herself has participated first as a student and later as a teacher. She is therefore belonging to our network.
Maayah pointed out how difficult the situation is at the moment, related to tourism in the Palestinian Territories. A huge drop of tourists visiting the region can be seen since last year following the raise of tensions and violence. Even for the last Easter festival, Jerusalem and Bethlehem have witnessed a significant decline in the number of tourists visiting the cities during that time of the year. This, with no doubt has affected the economy especially for a place like Bethlehem, where a lot of people are depending on hot seasons as their main source of income.
Mr. Frings and the Minister shared their concerns on the issue of Christian community emigration. Mrs. Maayah linked the fact that during the last 20 years the Christian population in the West Bank dropped to less than 3% to the case that Christian communities in Palestine are part of the middle class and therefore not wealthy enough to survive under the economic difficulties. For this reason the Minister was happy to hear that the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung soon starts operate in the field of Christian migration.