Bethlehem University Tourism Institute

About the Program

Bethlehem University now provides vocational training as well as its well-established academic program to support the development of the tourism industry throughout Palestine.  Plans are underway to develop the newly acquired Mount David site to give magnificent training facilities for both programs.

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The Bethlehem University Tourism Institute (BUTi), under the governance of a semi-autonomous board of directors, will aim to position Bethlehem University as the pre-eminent provider of academic and vocational training for the tourism sector throughout Palestine and potentially, beyond. It aspires to be a significant leader in the formation of personnel required to drive Palestine’s economically significant tourism & pilgrim sectors – including both leaders/managers and front-line staff. It aspires also to establish a strong research-component to support the industry and public sector agencies with reliable industry-related research. Finally it commits to collaborating with other Bethlehem University Faculties and entities as well as external agencies in order to play a significant role in developing a greater understanding of the Palestinian cultural heritage and building the capacity for dissemination of information about its depth and the factors at play in its suppression.

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The goals of the BUTi can be summarized in the following points:

  1. Relocate the existing Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism to Mt. David and enlarge it to ensure capacity for increased enrollments and new academic courses as envisaged.
  2. Provide facilities that are world class for the implementation of academic programs with a high component of competency-based training in every aspect of the tourism and pilgrim industries.
  3. Employ best practice in contemporary pedagogic practices in both academic and vocational training programs and implement ongoing benchmarking with international partners to sustain the standards of teaching and learning.
  4. Establish a fully functioning teaching hotel, a teaching restaurant and a teaching cultural center at Mt. David site, and to integrate into teaching and training programs practical training of a high quality and effective mentoring by industry personnel.
  5. Under the auspices of the Institute of Community Partnerships (ICP), implement a regime of vocational training programs both at Bethlehem University and throughout Palestine.
  6. Continuously develop and quality assure the vocational training curriculum, and take a leadership role in promoting in the industry and public sector capacity for credentialing all training providing students with a seamless progression from certificate level to post graduate.
  7. Offer tourism and hospitality vocational training services outside Bethlehem University in partnership with private and public stakeholder groups.
  8. Promote a strong culture of research throughout every aspect of the training and maximizing research collaboration with the public and private industry interests.
  9. Promote a greater understanding of Palestinian culture and a commitment to its dissemination amongst Institute students and guests.

Board of Directors

Mr. Hani Abu Dayyeh

Director Net Tours,
Member of the Board of Trustees – Bethlehem University

Br. Héctor Hernán Santos González, FSC

Vice Chancellor,
Bethlehem University

Father Ibrahim Faltas, OFM

Custodial Vicar in Palestine

Mr. Kevork Deldelian

Founder & CEO
Dex Squared Hospitality
Dubai, UAE


Vice President for Finance & Estates – BU

Mr. Hassan Costantini

Director of Quality Assurance & Enhancement Office – BU

Dr. Iman Saca

Vice President for Academic Affairs – BU

Mr. Samir O. Hulileh

Chairman of “Maalchat for Electronic Payment System Co.”

Dr. Georg Röwekamp

Director, German Association of the Holy Land (Representing DVHL)

Mr. Fahmi Ausama R Nashashibi

General Manager of Golden Walls Hotel, Jerusalem

Mr. Mazen Karam

CCC, Advisor to the President Bethlehem Development Foundation (BDF), Member of the Board of Directors

Ms Nida Al-Ayasseh

Permanent Observer
Director General of Tourism Services, Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities (MoTA)

Mr. Sami B Khoury

Sales and Marketing Manager,
Shepherds Tours and Travel

Board's functions

1) Develop the vision for the Institute,
2) Develop a strategic plan for implementing the vision of the Institute,
3) Develop relevant Governance documentation and procedures,
4) Govern the Institute according to best practice,
5) Develop and oversight an appropriate budget within the agreed parameters to ensure delivery of the agreed facilities development and learning outcomes,
6) Establish and maintain strategic relationships with key industry bodies,
7) Recommend to the Vice Chancellor the key Institute leadership personnel,
8) Source, induct, support, guide and hold accountable the CEO in the implementation of the vision,
9) Facilitate developing the Institute’s local, regional and international reputation,
10) Lead fundraising efforts to support the Institute’s Faculty and student scholarship program.

Legal Framework, Constitution and Role of the Board

To facilitate the ongoing and strengthening connection between the training in the Institute and the Palestinian tourism industry, the intention is to have the Tourism Institute governed by a board comprised of experts and collaborators drawn from the industry, along with key Bethlehem University personnel.

The Chairman of the Board will be drawn from the industry. The Board will exist for a three years term from its date of inception.

In consultation with industry representatives and the Ministry of Tourism, there will be a review and, if necessary, refinement of the composition, scope, responsibilities etc. of the Board at the end of its three years term.