Israel: Bedouin city to construct 500 guest houses to attract tourists


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People shop at an open-air market in the Bedouin town of Rahat in Israel's southern Negev region on June 8, 2021.
HAZEM BADER / AFPPeople shop at an open-air market in the Bedouin town of Rahat in Israel's southern Negev region on June 8, 2021.

The plan also includes launching new cultural festivals in Rahat

The municipality of Rahat, a predominantly Bedouin city in southern Israel, approved a tourism project to construct 500 guest house units over the next 10 years. 

This plan forms part of a massive joint initiative organized by the Rahat Economic Company together with the Bedouin Tourism Development Authority, Ynet reported. 

“The establishment of the guesthouses will provide a place to stay for hundreds of visitors from Israel and the world who wish to come and get to know Bedouin culture in the Negev,” Mahmud Alamour, CEO of the Rahat Economic Company, was quoted as saying.

“I hope that the establishment of new guesthouses in Rahat will lead to more and more people from Israel and the world coming to stay with us, help break down stigmas and barriers, and allow [guests] to enjoy the tradition of Bedouin hospitality that we know how to provide,” he added. 

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Implemented under a broader program aiming to boost tourism in the Negev area, the plan will also include launching several new cultural festivals. One of the most popular events currently held in Rahat is the Ramadan Nights Festival that offers visitors the chance to experience the traditions of the Muslim holy month.

“Thanks to the project that we are leading, there will soon be new and unique festivals in the city, including a first-of-its-kind culinary festival, a camel festival, and other special cultural festivals,” Alamour said. 

Rahat, which is the largest Bedouin city in Israel and around the world, has a population of over 77,000 people. The construction plan is expected to allow nearly 250 families in the city to join the tourism industry and to improve the overall financial situation of the local Bedouin community

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