Jericho / Palexperiment
Dynamic Hospitality for Tourism Services, one of the Palestinian pioneer tourism companies, organized a conference in Jericho last Friday that was attended by different representatives of travel agencies. The purpose was to launch new tourism services for the Palestinian market, brought to the country through business partnerships with international tourism companies.
Dynamic Hospitality for Tourism Services signed a contract with Royal Caribbean International and Lots of Hotels to provide and expand the cruise sector and other tourism services. Shakeeb al-Hussaini, General Director of the company, said that the inclusion of these global services in the Palestinian tourism sector comes amid efforts to develop the services provided to the Palestinian citizens, on the one hand, and the tourism services in Palestine, on the other hand.
Al-Hussaini told Pal Experiment that this first meeting with representatives of travel and tourism agencies aimed at providing them with information about the new services. "The objective is to facilitate the development of their work and to pave a new path for the Palestinian tourism sector. The travel agencies are developing fast; we can see a lot of professionals now introducing new products that support the tourism sector in general."
Dozens of owners and representatives of tourist and travel agencies from various cities in the West Bank attended the conference in Jericho. The event began with Al-Hussaini welcoming the audience and providing an explanation of the advantages of the tourism services provided by Royal Caribbean International and Lots of Hotels, and talked about the importance of the collaboration with these companies.
Regarding the cruises, Al-Hussaini said during the conference that Royal Caribbean is one of the biggest international companies, which operates in 44 countries worldwide. He added that the company's cruise ships dock in 240 ports, and that it has the second largest fleet, with 41 cruise ships of various sizes and with services that fit all kinds of tastes and ages.
The company is considered one of the most profitable touristic companies in the world, and its profits last year were estimated in seven billion dollars. The Royal Caribbean hosted thousands of tourists on board of its ships, which have the capacity to carry up to 6200 tourists and over 100 employees.
Al-Hussaini explained the different cruise options that will be available for Palestinians. The first one is the Azamara Cruises, which provide among others massage services, different restaurants and offer a wide range of activities. The Azamara cruises include upscale service and food, small ship coziness, and unusual itineraries
Another kind of Royal Caribbean cruise is the "Celebrity", which is a service provided primarily to married couples, and has aft-glass dining rooms, formal foyer areas, alternate dining venues, balcony and suite staterooms, large pools and lounging areas, signature bars and lounges, libraries, elegant spas and gyms, and relaxation areas.
The third service provided by the Royal Caribbean is for families and includes restaurants, entertainment services for children, rock-climbing walls, various activities and games.
Al-Hussaini pointed out that in all kinds of options there are exclusive services and areas for the VIPs.
According to Al-Hussaini, the company has in its handbooks and leaflets answers to all the questions, and that the company is seeking to provide information about visas, reservation services and other kinds of assistance to the tourists who are interested in the cruise.
With regards to the second International Company, Al-Hussaini said that Lots of Hotels has a system that ensures clients find the cheapest price in the Palestinian territories, adding that the booking percentages through this system that operates via the internet have reached up to 10-15 %. It also includes a program that facilitates obtaining work visas to clients, especially in countries like the Saudi Arabia.
The Lots of Hotel system includes contracts with more than fifteen thousand hotels, in addition to services such as Haj and Umrah pilgrimages, visits to the Vatican, as well as seasonal discounts on prices. Besides the hotel it is also possible to manage visa applications, renting cars or booking taxis.
At the end of the presentation, Al-Hussaini made a call to the travel agencies to adopt a long-term planning system as it will contribute to the development of their work. Planning the bookings a few months before planning the tours will give them the chance to work professionally, therefore improving their work and increasing their profit.
Husseini also said that his department will announce in the coming months a series of new tourism services to be provided to the Palestinian market, which will contribute to the development of the tourism sector and to catch up with global tourism trends.
Marwan Za'tara, manager of the Za'tara travel agency in Jerusalem, said that these new services will certainly add value to the Palestinian market and that developments like this one were always welcome. However, he showed his concern regarding potential problems in the promotion of cruises for Palestinians. He said that cruises usually travel to many different countries in Europe or other parts of the world, and that considering how difficult it is for Palestinians to get visas, especially those with West Bank or Jerusalem IDs, it will be challenging to attract large crowds.
The director of Royal Jordanian Airlines, who attended the meeting, said that this meeting is important because it contributes to the development of tourism as it raises the level of quality of the services provided by the travel agencies to Palestinian citizens.
He also noted that this will contribute to placing Palestine on the map of international tourism through the existence of Palestinian companies and tourist offices that are connected to these companies.