The European Union and UNDP support Nablus Municipality in revitalizing Khan Al Wakalah site
Dec 7, 2015
Nablus, 07 December 2015 - In line with the on-going Palestinian tourism development process, H.E. Eng. Sameeh Tubeleh, Mayor of Nablus a.i. and Head of Municipal Committee, Ms Alessandra Viezzer, EU Head of Cooperation, and Mr Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, signed an Exchange of Letters to mark activities related to the revitalization of the Khan Al Wakalah historical site. The ceremony was attended by Nablus Governor Mr Akram Al Rjoub, and representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, and Antiquities and the Nablus Chamber of Commerce.
The agreement intends to establish cooperation frameworks and arrangements towards ensuring successful delivery of Khan Al Wakalah activities and lay foundations for dynamic synergies among ongoing EU initiatives in Nablus City and Khan Al Wakalah historical site.
In his remarks, H.E. Eng. Sameeh Tubeleh highlighted "We believe that Khan Al Wakalah project will promote the listing of the Old City of Nablus - as other Palestinian historic and cultural sites - on UNESCO's World Heritage List. I take this opportunity to call on our friends in the EU and the UN to support this initiative which will protect historic sites in the State of Palestine, and promote the Palestinian tourism sector around the world".
The Khan Al Wakalah project is part of a Euro 5 million EU funded programme, implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, local communities and other relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector. The programme aims at supporting the development of cultural tourism in Palestine, through the engagement of the private sector through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The two sites targeted by this pilot initiative are Maqam Nabi Musa in the Jericho governorate, and Khan Al Wakalah in Nablus.
"The historical sites in the State of Palestine are not only important for their cultural and heritage values -some of them being designated as World Heritage - but also for their potential to promote prosperity by boosting tourism and business opportunities. This project is strongly integrating cultural heritage and socio-economic development," said the EU Head of Cooperation, Alessandra Viezzer.
Through the project, support will be provided to the Municipality of Nablus to transform the historic Khan Al Wakalah complex in Nablus into a tourist hub. Upon the finalization of the current tendering process in February 2016, the awarded private sector company will operate the guesthouse, restaurant and shopping area. The project will also serve the citizens of Nablus through the creation of municipal services windows inside the Khan Al Wakalah complex.
Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, highlighted the importance of revitalizing the Khan Al Wakalah historical site and creating a new enabling economic environment at Nablus City. "With appropriate investment, there are incredible opportunities for increased tourism which would create the revenue and jobs critical to sustainable development" he added.
It is worth noting that the main rehabilitation works of Khan Al Wakalah were completed in 2012 through another EU-fund executed by UNESCO.
The Office of the European Union Representative
Shadi Othman, Tel. +972 (0) 2 541 5888 ext 867, Mobile: +972 (0) 599 673 958 / http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/
United Nations Development Programme
Dania Darwish, Communications Specialist, Tel. +972-2-6268229 – e-mail: email@example.com. For more information on UNDP/PAPP see http://www.ps.undp.org.
Raja Taher (Ms.), Director, International and Public Relations Department, Tel. +970 9 2390025/16, email: firstname.lastname@example.org