Jerusalem, 17 February 1999

Israel-PA Tourism Cooperation

(Communicated by Tourism Ministry Spokeswoman)

The Tourism Ministry Spokeswoman issued the following statement yesterday,
Tuesday, 16.2.99: "Ending a long freeze in relations between the Tourism
Ministry and the Palestinian Authority, and following a number of meetings
between Tourism Minister Moshe Katsav and the PA official responsible for
tourism and archaeology, Matri Abu Aita, several understandings and
agreements have been reached, with the intention of increasing tourism
both in Israel and in the Palestinian Autonomy area.

Among the agreements reached, exit permits were granted to 50 tour guides
and 50 travel agents from PA areas in Judea and Samaria to Israel, and
similar permits will be granted to 65 employees of the PA Tourism Ministry
from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Additionally, on the initiative of the Israeli Tourism Ministry, it was
agreed that the PA will send 30 participants to a month-long course on
tourism-related issues at Haifa University. Additionally, the two tourism
ministries are participating in a joint marketing operation for Israel and
the PA in the build-up to 2000.

The Israeli Tourism Ministry will, next weekend, convene a gathering of
500 senior religious officials and religious journalists from throughout
the world who are coming to Israel to see the preparations being made for
the large number of pilgrims expected to arrive in the build up to the
year 2000. The PA Tourism Ministry will take participants on a tour of
Bethlehem.

The Israeli and Palestinian Tourism Ministers will also appear together
with their Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts at a joint press conference
at the ITB International Tourism fair in Germany, which will take place at
the beginning of March.

Tourism Minister Katsav stressed that he places great importance on
tourism cooperation with the PA, especially in the approach to the year
2000, since it is important that tourists be allowed to travel freely
throughout the country.