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For the past several weeks Siraj Center has been implementing several training courses on COVID-19 health protocols, in cooperation with the Palestinian Heritage Trail, using the tourism readiness e-learning portal Jahzeen.ps, targeting those working in the tourism sector and responsible for home-stay services.

The Siraj Center is a non-governmental organization that is based in Beit Sahour and part of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement and aims to enhance the image of Palestine as a safe destination for responsible tourism programs that benefit the local communities.

Siraj has been carrying out a series of training sessions in villages throughout the West Bank including the Burqin Ladies Centre Society in Jenin, the Women Center in Dura, and Dar Salah Women Center. Most recently on April 26, 2021, at the Arab Women Union in Beit Sahour, Siraj carried out its 4th training session, which included 16 participants who each offered home-stay services.

Mr. Majed Ishaq, the Director-General of Tourism Marketing and Media at the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) and head of the Palestinian Tourism Recovery Taskforce (PTRT) was present during the training session and gave a short speech expressing to the participants the importance of fully implementing the health and safety instructions within their establishments and that they have a responsibility to not only protect themselves and their families but to also protect their local communities and visitors from contracting COVID-19. The biggest challenge for the Palestine tourism industry has been to restore confidence in the eyes of tourists, international operators, governments, the private sector, and ministries of foreign affairs.

The speech was followed by a detailed presentation entitled: “General Knowledge about Covid-19 and Health Protocols”, which gave a general overview of COVID-19 and important preliminary information necessary for working in a COVID-19 environment.

After the COVID-19 presentation, the participants were instructed on how to use and log into the Jahzeen platform in order to complete the homestay training course in a group session. The homestay training course focuses on capacity building in applying COVID-19 specific health protocols and procedures throughout their establishments.

Once the participants completed the training material, they were then required to take a mandatory exam on the Jahzeen platform. Upon successfully passing the exam, the participants were then issued a downloadable digital certificate signifying the successful completion of the training course that is accredited by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA).

At the end of the session, each participant was provided with a hygiene kit with a collection of instructions on how to properly and safely handle guests visiting their establishments.

Siraj plans on implementing another 6 more training sessions in different villages throughout Palestine in the next coming weeks. The instructors giving the courses are trained by the National Team of Auditors before being officially certified as an instructor. As part of a national recovery plan, MoTA has been implementing several interventions throughout Palestine in its efforts to cope with the recent pandemic and provide solutions to support the tourism industry. A key element has been the establishment of a National Team of Auditors and getting support from the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The National Team of Auditors is responsible for inspecting hotels and their facilities to ensure the implementation of COVID-19 specific health protocols and procedures in line with international standards. The members of the auditing team have been certified and trained by Hotel Resilient, an acclaimed German institute, commissioned by GIZ, which is the world’s only scientific benchmarking and certification body for disaster risk management specifically focused on hotels and resorts.

Jahzeen is an open platform with over 130 different training courses that include over 500 lessons. It 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.

The Jahzeen COVID-19 e-learning portal can be accessed here, user registration and certification are completely free of charge.

For more information please contact:

Majedishaq@travelpalestine.ps

+972 59 205 9412

www.jahzeen.ps

www.facebook.com/travelpalestine/

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.