Japan and the World Bank announced Monday a new grant for the Palestinian tourism industry, which has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Japan Social Development Fund will provide $2.4 million to increase economic opportunities and improve livelihoods of Palestinians living alongside the Palestinian Heritage Trail hiking route in the West Bank. The money will specifically go toward women and youth working in the tourism industry. Households, businesses and wage workers will be among the recipients, The World Bank said in a press release. The Japan Social Development Fund is a partnership between Japan and The World Bank.
The Palestinian Heritage Trail is a 500-kilometer hiking trail that runs throughout the West Bank. The purpose of the trail is to allow hikers to experience the area’s nature and Palestinian culture.
The Palestinian tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has lost more than $1 billion in revenue since the virus first emerged, according to The World Bank. Like other regional authorities, the Palestinian Authority closed businesses to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
In the Gaza Strip, hotels suffered financially when they were turned into quarantine centers. Local tourism companies have recently been promoting domestic tourism.
Israel’s tourism industry was also negatively impacted by the government’s harsh antivirus measures.
This is not the first time Japan and The World Bank have provided aid to the Palestinian territories. In February, the DC-based financial institution allocated a $3 million grant to help pay for coronavirus-related medical supplies. The Japanese nonprofit is also supporting a women-run dairy farm in Gaza.