Officials on Monday marked the opening of the newly revitalised Khan Al Wakalah historical site in Nablus, restored as part of a €5 million EU funded-programme. Around 40,000 local and international visitors are expected to visit the site annually.
The opening ceremony was attended by EU Representative Ralph Tarraf, UNDP Representative Roberto Valent, the Governor of Nablus Akram Al Rjoub, and Mayor of Nablus Adli Ya’eesh.
“The historic sites in Palestine are not only important for their cultural and heritage values… but also for their promising economic potential. Therefore, the EU is investing a total of €5 million in reviving two Palestinian iconic sites: Khan Al Wakalah in Nablus and Maqam Nabi Mousa near Jericho,” said EU Representative Ralph Tarraf. “As we celebrate the inauguration of Khan Al Wakalah, we are looking forward to see Palestinians and international tourists filling up these rooms and enjoying the chance to discover the hidden gems of Nablus,” he added.
The project, which integrates socio-economic development with cultural heritage, has transformed the historic Khan Al Wakalah complex in Nablus into a tourist hub. Through the deployment of the first Public-Private Partnership model in the management and operation of cultural sites, 21 rooms were rehabilitated to be used as a boutique hotel and guest house, in addition to the 11 shops that were upgraded on location for serving the economic purposes of the compound. Over 1,600 jobs were created during the implementation process and around 100 sustainable direct and indirect job opportunities will be created for the Nablus community as a result of the project.
The Khan Al Wakalah project is part of a €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).