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About the ATG

 

The Alternative tourism Group (ATG) is a Palestinian NGO specializing in tours and pilgrimages that include critical examinations of the history, culture, and politics of the Holy Land. Established in 1995, ATG operates according to the tenets of “justice tourism”, that is, tourism that holds as its central goals the creation of economic opportunities for the local community, positive cultural exchange between host and guest through one-on-one interaction, the protection of the environment and political/historical education. ATG works to encourage all tourism operators to abandon exploitative mass tourism and to adopt practices that positively affect the host population. Through these methods, ATG seeks to promote a positive image of Palestine and its people and to contribute towards establishing rightful peace in the area.

 

ATG objectives:

 

·         To modify mass tourism in “the Holy Land” in order to establish a more human-oriented tourism.

 

·         To put foreign tourists in direct contact with the Palestinian population so as to help them develop a better understanding of Arab-Palestinian culture and history.

 

·         To break down negative stereotypes of Palestine and its people that predominate in the West.

 

·         To achieve a balance between the revenues of the Palestinian and Israeli tourism sectors by using Palestinian infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, transportation, guides, etc.)

 

·         To augment the number of tourists visiting Palestine and increase the length of their stay in Palestinian areas.

 

·         To develop knowledge of Palestinian culture and the socio-political situation in Palestine amongst tourists.

 

·         To encourage instructive and authentic meetings with the Palestinian people and to develop amongst tourists an objective understanding of everyday realities of the Israeli Occupation.

 

·         To offer tourists the opportunity to share unique experience with Palestinians through volunteer work with non-governmental organizations (olive harvesting, planting trees, etc.).

 

Since its establishment in 1995, ATG has provided its services to thousands of people from all over the world, which is considered ATG’s great success; it proves that the concept of alternative tourism is extremely interesting to people.

 

In 1997, ATG managed to rehabilitate 30 rooms in local houses in the Bethlehem area. Those houses have, since then, served as places to accommodate tourists and pilgrims with local families, where tourists may interact with local people, enrich their understanding of Palestinian culture, extend their circle of friendship, appreciate Palestinian hospitality, taste local tradition food and, finally, enjoy folkloric music.

 

In 2006, ATG won the prestigious international TO DO award for Socially Responsible Tourism within the framework of the 41st International Tourism Exchange in Berlin.

 

ATG published the first comprehensive Palestinian guidebook (“Palestine and Palestinians”). The guidebooks are available in 6 languages, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. The German language book will soon be available as well as efforts are underway to publish it. The book provides an in-depth, up-to-date journey through the entire range of Palestinian culture: ancient and modern history, archaeology, religion, architecture and politics. It also offers a great variety of documentary material and practical information, making it an invitation to discover Palestine.

 

In 2008, ATG was the rallying force behind the publication of the Code of Conduct for Tourism in the Holy Land. This was launched by the Palestinian Initiative for Responsible Tourism and in it; it provides guidelines for a fair and advantageous tourism for all.

 

ATG produced the Guidelines for Pilgrimage - a document for visionary pilgrims who seek authentic, human encounters by connecting with Palestinian Christians—the “Living Stones” who share their faith. The book includes Biblical reflections, and ways in which a visitor can engage in profound preparation for their pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Over the years, ATG has grown into a well-accepted research-advocacy organization whose studies are widely distributed within Palestine and overseas. They serve as useful reference points for academics and activists around the world.

 

ATG programs

 

·        Tours to key sites led by our specially-trained guides: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Tel Aviv/Jaffa , Haifa, Nazareth and other cities and towns; villages , Palestinian refugee camps, Bedouin communities and the Israeli West Bank settlements (colonies), working-class communities, centres of commercial life and religious sites.

·         Encounters with Palestinians and Israelis, academics, political leaders, government officials, NGO staff members and local people.

·         An opportunity to experience local life and interact with families through accommodation in Palestinian homes.

·         Interfaith encounters including meetings with people of Muslim, Jewish and Christians faith.

·         Special programmes planned in co-operation with Palestinian and Israeli academic institutions, including opportunities to engage in research projects.

·         Special tours designed around specific issues such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, pre-1948 Palestinian society, refugees, the status of women, conflicts of the religious state, conflicting historical narratives, development issues, pilgrimages and the like.

 

ATG works with

 

·         International solidarity groups

·         Academic and fact-finding delegations

·         Church groups concerned with issues of social justice

·         Diplomats, journalists and researchers

·         NGOs and political organizations

·         Tourists and pilgrims’ groups

 

By choosing ATG you will gain

 

1.       A fair trip to the Holy Land.

2.       A personal, unforgettable experience where every individual request is granted.

3.       A meaningful encounter with the local communities.

 

 

 

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