The Minister of Tourism has announced a resumption of visits from November 6. This decision was made possible in particular by the efforts made to put in place suitable health and prevention protocols in establishments open to the public, both for tourists and for employees in the sector.
The number of tourists to the West Bank fell dramatically in 2020, by almost 70%. The tourism ministry lists, in 2020, only 110,000 hotel nights, against 746,000 in 2019. The losses of the tourism sector in Palestine are estimated at around $ 55 million per month since the start of the health crisis. The hotel sector in Bethlehem Governorate, which is considered the number one tourist destination in Palestine, lost $ 115 million in 2020 and 10,000 jobs, direct or indirect, suffered.
Estimates of total losses from no tourism in 2020 are over $ 1 billion, or around 7.5% of GDP.
As of October 1, 2021, Palestine deplored 4,500 deaths from Covid-19, and more than 448,000 people infected. In 2020, the economy suffered losses estimated at $ 2.3 billion, as GDP fell by 11.5%. One in ten people (9.2%) ceased all productive activity between January and December 2020 and one in four experienced substantial loss of income. Nonetheless, the performance of the economy has gradually improved during the first half of 2021, and most economic indicators are on the rise.
In the first half of 2021, GDP grew by 5% compared to the same period in 2020, while this increase was 3% in the second half of 2021. The industrial production index rose by 36% between the latter quarters 2020 and 2021. The construction sector is also strongly oriented upward, with an 18% increase in the number of building permits between the first and second semesters of 2021, and an increase of 118% compared to the same period in 2020.
Trade with the rest of the world has also improved: in the second quarter of 2021, the level of exports abroad increased by 12% compared to the previous quarter, and imports from abroad during the second quarter 2021 increased by 3%.
However, the outstanding external debt of Palestinian economic sectors exceeded $ 2 billion, and the share of public debt held abroad was over $ 1 billion.
Source French Embassy in Lebanon