The Office of the Dean of Research and the Research Council held a colloquium titled, “Developing the Tourism Industry in Palestine: Halal Tourism and Volunteer Tourism as Case Studies,” the sixth in the Research and Creativity colloquia series for the 2021-2022 academic year, on Thursday, November 25, 2021.
Dr. Omar Abed Rabo, Associate Professor of History and the Chairperson of the Humanities Department, presented the results of his research project, which was funded by a grant from the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education through Bethlehem University.
Dr. Abed Rabo examined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism in Palestine and discussed the importance of promoting alternative forms of tourism such as halal and voluntary tourism to help support the local tourism sector. He noted that halal tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that could be used to boost the tourism sector in Palestine.
In his talk, Dr. Abed Rabo also critiqued the various terms scholars use to analyze halal tourism and proposed alternative terms that can apply to religious Ziyara and halal hospitality. He also engaged the political debate about whether or not tourism to Palestine by Muslim tourists from around the world can be considered normalization.
Moreover, he placed this form of tourism in the history of pilgrimage to Jerusalem until 1948, and the various fatwas that were issued in support of visiting occupied Jerusalem.
He also briefly talked about voluntary tourism as a new form of tourism that makes Palestinian cities, villages, and camps the direct destinations of international tourists, who are interested in serving social justice causes.
The event was attended in person and virtually by faculty members from education, the sciences, and the arts. Dr. Rami Isaac, a senior lecturer in tourism at the Academy for Tourism, joined virtually from Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Dr. Abed Rabo and Dr. Isaac have published a chapter on halal tourism in a collection titled, The Routledge Handbook of Halal Hospitality and Islamic Tourism (2019).
A recording of the colloquium can be viewed at this link.