Palestinian Tourism Tops the Global Popularity Index כותרת משנה A new report that was published a number of days ago revealed a list of the World Tourism Organization according to which Palestinian tourism has surged in the Global Popularity Index by 57.8% in 2017. What’s the reason? And who else is on the list? 8/15/2017 טקסט ראשיA new report published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) several days ago revealed ten tourist destinations that made the highest jump in the Global Popularity Index in 2017, and the results are surprising.At the top of the list are the Palestinians, making the highest leap in the Global Popularity Index. During this past year, the current Palestinian tourism industry has grown by 57.8% according to the data in the report. This increase stems from the grand opening of a boutique hotel owned by the artist “Banksy” at the beginning of 2017.. The hotel received widespread media coverage due to its unique location, the city of Bethlehem and because of Banksy’s creations in and around the hotel. According to expectations, 630,000 tourists are expected to contribute to the Palestinian economy until end of 2017. The second rank on UNWTO’s list sits Egypt, which has experienced a 51% rise in tourists arriving to the country since the beginning of 2017. Egypt is expected to receive 8 million tourists by the end of 2017. In 5th place is Tunisia, with a tourism index increase of 32.5% since the beginning of the year. Israel is placed 10th on the list, with a rise in tourism by 25.1% since the beginning of 2017, and is expected to receive 3.7 million tourists by the end of 2017.The World Tourism Organization, which is responsible for publishing the report, is an agency part of the UN which deals with tourism and preparing the “World Tourism Barometer”. The Secretary General of the organization, Taleb Rifai, is a Jordan native and has visited Israel often.While tourism in Judea and Samaria is drastically rising, the situation in Gaza has become much harder. The situation in Gaza and Hamas’ regime has brought a complete halt to tourism in the area, with the main inflicted individuals being the thousands of Gazans working in the tourism sector.