The City of Bethlehem celebrated the opening of the Saint Gabriel Hotel and its coronation as one of Palestine's "Five-Star" hotels. The celebration was attended by the Palestinian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Rola Ma'aya, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos, the President of Chamber of Commerce in Bethlehem, Dr. Sameer Hazboun, a number of representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, representatives from the tourism private sector, several officials responsible for the security agencies and media crews.
Various people addressed the audience, focusing on the importance of this work in developing the tourism sector. They stressed that any development in the tourism sector will contribute to reinforcing the economic situation in Bethlehem, and also more generally in Palestine, since they view tourism as a key element of the national income.
The Patriarch Theophilos gave his blessing to Palestine, Bethlehem and Abu Aita’s family for the opening of the hotel, adding that the development of hotel services in Palestine will contribute to attracting tourists to this land.
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquitiesm Rola Ma'aya, considered this hotel as one of Palestine’s most finest and developed hotels considering the services provided. She added that the ministry gave the “Five-Star” classification to the hotel according to the International Hotel Classification Star Rating System, as it adopted extensive and classy standards. The hotel’s administration and the Ministry of Tourism have worked together on implementing the Global Quality Standards that enabled this hotel to get the “Five- Star” classification.
Ma'aya told PNN that this hotel is an achievement and an outcome of the cooperation between the ministry and the hotel’s administration, pointing out that the existence of such hotels with this high standards, contributes to the development process of the tourism industry in Palestine.
Ma'aya said that the ministry is trying to develop the tourism industry and increasing the number of services provided to the Muslim and Christian pilgrims that come to Palestine. The existence of such pioneer hotels that provide high-quality services represents a positive development.
The spokesman of the Orthodox Church, Father Issa Musleh, told PNN that the opening ceremony, attended by dozens of Palestinians, is an important achievement in the tourism industry.
He pointed out that the presence of the Patriarch Theophilos is a sign of support to the Palestinian people and for the Palestinian tourism sector. On the other hand, Patriarch Theophilos said that he supports the Palestinian human rights in various fields and that his participation in this celebration is meant to show his support to reinforcing the tourism sector and attracting pilgrims to Palestine.
The owner of the hotel, Tanas Abu Aita, said that this hotel comes as a result of several years of efforts in the Palestinian tourism sector, stressing the importance of developing the work and performance of the services provided to the tourists.
Abu Aita pointed out that the budget of this hotel reached 11 million dollars and that it includes 140 rooms, in addition to sections and centers that provide various services to the tourists.
Abu Aita confirmed that the development of the hotel has contributed to enhance the level of income, adding that the hotel already got plenty of reservatiosn reaching up to 85% of the hotel's capacity.
Abu Aita thanked the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Rola Ma'aya, and the Patriarch Theophilos, for their support and participation in the opening ceremony, stressing that he will continue with his work to develop the tourist and hotel industry.