The tourism industry currently accounts for 15% of the PA's economy – a leap from 10% in 2009. It is estimated that the tourism market now rakes in $885 million in revenue annually.
Some 90 hotels and 40 hostels operate in the PA. According to the data, local touristic sites have registered 2.7 million local visitors over the past year – double the amount of visitors in 2009. Combined with tourists who have come from outside the PA's borders, they comprised approximately 5 million travelers.
The Ma'an News Agency claimed in an article that the Israeli occupation is detrimental to the local tourism industry, a "negative power" staunchly fought by Palestinian Tourism Minister Dr. Khouloud Deibes.
"Much of the industry players are under total occupation in east Jerusalem, cut off from the rest of Palestine," the article read.
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel recently of "hijacking" Christmas for political gain, after the Israeli Tourism Ministry announced its intention to hold a Christmas event in east Jerusalem. Initially set for Monday, the event was postponed and expected to be held the following week.
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