24 Jan 2019
Bethlehem, Palestine
Sustainable Tourism

Fadi Kattan has been cultivating his idea for a very long time, mostly since he decided to study hotel management over 20 years ago. “The idea combines my love for the city, Bethlehem, the hospitality industry, cuisine, local produce, and giving back to the local community,” Kattan says.

His idea blossomed into a business he called Hosh Al-Syrian Guesthouse and Fawda Restaurant where he’s not only the owner but also the chef.

The Hosh Al-Syrian clientele includes locals, expats living in Palestine and international travellers and tourists.

“We operate from a historic building dating back to 1739 in the heart of Bethlehem, Palestine, just off Star Street, a UNESCO World Heritage site,” Kattan proudly notes.

He adds that the renovation of the building was done by the Bethlehem Municipality with the assistance of the Italian government’s Palestinian Municipality Support Program. “We are managing the project as a business and are self-sustaining from the rooms rentals and restaurant sales plus an investment from my part into the operational capital,” Kattan remarks.

In addition to their hospitality activities, Kattan and his team also work on three levels for spreading the idea which is “local, local, local! Local produce, local heritage and local community engagement,” he emphasized.

“The first level is with the artisans and farmers supplying us with their produce. We talk and share the importance of sourcing local produce and the importance of working with the farmers,” Kattan adds.

The second level is with the team. They are all local and Hosh Al-Syrian makes sure to hire a majority of young women, often those who have not had the chance to complete their formal education and recently they have hired a part-time team member with disabilities.

“The third level is through outreach through our guests and institutional relations. We use the model to encourage local authorities to replicate it, share the experience with our guests about the importance of going local, local, local,” says Kattan.

According to Kattan, tourism is a perfect development tool to combine the promotion of the Palestinian narrative and gastronomy with the real impact on the local community.

“Whether by returning [dignity] to the farmers, producers or artisans, raising awareness or offering employment with an outlook towards heritage, tourism can assist by spreading the benefits both financial and developmental among a large segment of the local community,” he adds.

 

Follow Hosh Al-Syrian on Facebook or their website.

Hosh Al-Syrian Sustainable tourism
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