The global impact of the COVID-19 crisis has become unprecedented with over half the world’s population in lockdown. Beyond just affecting labor markets and health care systems, the pandemic has affected economic sectors all over the world. The global tourism industry, in particular, has been severely impacted, and Palestine is no exception. The Palestinian tourism industry has always been vital to its economy, and at the peak of the crisis, it has undoubtedly faced one of its most significant challenges in history.
As a response to the pandemic, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), has established the Palestine Tourism Recovery Taskforce (PTRT), in order to develop a recovery plan for new standards, protocols, and solutions for Palestine’s tourism sector post-COVID-19. The task force is comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, who are responsible for revitalizing and restoring confidence in the Palestinian tourism sector post-COVID-19.
The task force includes representatives from the Arab Hotel Association (AHA), Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association (HLITOA), Palestinian Society of Tourist and Travel Agents (P.S.T.T.A), The Guide Union, and Network for Palestine Experiential Tourism Associations (NEPTO).
The pandemic has forced people across the globe to stay home and use online tools to manage their business and communications needs. This fact spurred the task force, in cooperation with the Private Sector Development Programme (PSPD) of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and a team of local and international experts, to develop Jahzeen.ps as Palestine’s tourism-readiness and resilience e-learning digital platform.
Jahzeen was developed to enhance the capacities, skill sets, and proficiencies of individuals within the Palestinian tourism sector. The course is based on the “COVID-19 Tourism and Operational Manual for Palestine”, a comprehensive guideline that outlines the hygiene standards and protocols, according to international standards, for all tourism service providers within the Palestinian tourism industry.
The Palestine Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, H.E. Rula Maayah, announced that the platform had reached more than 1000 registrations only within a few weeks since it was launched on October 20th, 2020. She said, “This is an important and successful milestone as it substantiates the need for such a platform for the Palestinian tourism sector during this crisis”.
This achievement is also an indicator of the incredible adaptability and resilience of the Palestinian tourism workforce. The choice of technology and well-developed microlearning solutions on a user-friendly platform has also contributed to its success.
Jahzeen offers a wide range of training courses related to the different sectors within the Palestinian tourism industry. The sectors include Accommodation, Food & Beverage, Tour Guiding and Operation, Transportation, Shop, Vendor and Factories, Sights and Attractions, and Religious Sites.
Some of the most popular sub-sector courses among registered users include tour operations, with about 29% of users completing the course; tour guiding, with about 20% of users completing the course; and accommodation management, with about 11% of users completing the course.
Anyone, whether they’re new to the tourism industry or a seasoned professional with years of experience, can register and gain unlimited access to Jahzeen. It’s an open platform with over 130 different training courses that include over 500 lessons. Once a user registers onto Jahzeen they’re given the option to choose their preferred category or categories within the tourism sector they’d worked in or would like to work in. Based on the user’s chosen preferences, a customized curriculum training course is then created, within which is the relevant knowledge, content, and course lessons specific to that user’s chosen preferences. Once a user completes a training course, they’re then required to take a mandatory quiz on the learning material.
Upon successfully passing the quiz, the user is then issued a downloadable digital certificate signifying the successful completion of the training course. The Jahzeen platform makes acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills for the new mandatory COVID-19 standards and protocols convenient and accessible to tourism workers throughout the Palestinian tourism value chain.
While Jahzeen’s core mission has been to focus on COVID-19, reopening the Palestinian tourism sector and upskilling Palestinians within the tourism workforce; it also aims to develop beyond the context of COVID-19 by increasing and diversifying its course catalog. It will be an opportunity for tourism professionals within Palestine to create and share training courses for different tourism products (e-biking, hotel management, homestay experiences) and transforming them into an online format on Jahzeen. As it stands to show, Jazeen has exceeded expectations in terms of its growth and has the potential to become the leading tourism e-learning and marketing platform in Palestine.
The Jahzeen COVID-19 e-learning portal can be accessed here, user registration and certification are completely free of charge.
About Jahzeen.ps (Jahzeen): Jahzeen.ps is Palestine’s tourism-readiness and resilience e-learning platform developed to fuse COVID prevention standards and protocols into everyday tourism business in Palestine. Its mission is to help enhance tourism sector employee’s skill sets by providing Jahzeen.ps users with learning tools and certification regarding the new standards and protocols necessary to implement a resilient tourism sector recovery. The Jahzeen e-Learning curriculum provides its users with access to information that includes a general introduction to COVID-19 as well as the new standards and protocols necessary to implement a successful recovery.