Supporting Global Development through Sustainable Tourism

From Three Hours to Three Days in Bethlehem (The Original One)

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    When I first told people that I was heading to Bethlehem to help develop a strategic plan to grow visitation from roughly half a day to multi-day visits, most people thought I was talking about Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

    It was, in fact, the original Bethlehem in Palestine, but it was an easy mistake to make. If you Google “Bethlehem”, very little travel information can be found on the historic birthplace of Christ, but there are many results on the Pennsylvania town, as well as many other towns with the same name. 

    Bethlehem town
    The Town of Bethlehem from the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square

    Our job is to work with tourism stakeholders in Bethlehem to develop a vision, action plan, and identify specific investment promotion opportunities for tourism that will help promote the region and extend the length of time people stay in the area from about half-a-day to two or three days. The longer people stay, the more they will spend and have a positive economic impact on the people of Bethlehem. 

    Luckily we are not starting with a blank slate, at the present time visitors to the region focus on two main attractions: The Church of the Nativity, where it is said Christ was born, and Shepard’s Fields.  

    Bethlehem Nativity
    Grotto under the Church of the Nativity, marking the spot where Jesus is said to have been born
    Bethlehem shepards fields
    Shepard’s Fields

    However, in addition to these important sites there is a lot more to see. Among the region’s major attractions are the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the ‘Land of Olives and Vines,’ a hiking trail through ancient Roman terraces; the desert Monastery of Ma Saba; and the ruins of King Herod’s Palace. The food is also a tasty mix of Mediterranean and Arab cuisine, the culture demonstrates the area’s long and varied history, and the people are among the most welcoming I’ve met. All in all, it is a destination well worth visiting for more than just a couple of hours. 

    Bethlehem Land of olives and vines
    Land of Olives and Vines – Battir Valley Hike
    Bethlehem monastery of Ma saba
    Desert Monastery of Ma Saba
    Bethlehem Herods palace
    Ruins of King Herod’s Summer Palace

    To learn more about Solimar International, please visit our website.

    Last modified on Thursday, 15 January 2015 19:39

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