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The new sites are the first World Heritage Sites in the Palestinian region.
Earlier Failed Nominations
According to officials, Palestine’s bid last year was not considered because Palestine is not yet an UN-recognised state, the bid was not considered. In addition, the conflict with Israel was also a problem. Furthermore, despite a 2010 agreement between the latter two to allow tourists to cross borders, UNESCO’s decision to include Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in a programme to renovate historical sites was criticised by Israel, which has already six of its sites inscribed on the heritage list.
Boost for Tourism
Tourism experts are hoping for a surge in arrivals post the inclusion of the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list. According to official data, Bethlehem received more than two million visitors in 2011 and that’s why a World Heritage Site tag is being seen as a catalyst to up the number of arrivals in 2012.
The other new sites from elsewhere in the world to have been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List include Israel’s Carmel caves – believed to be the site of human evolution at Mount Carmel; Rock Islands Southern Lagoon in Palau; Bali’s rice terraces applying the Subak irrigation system in Indonesia; and Rabat, the modern capital and historic city of the Kingdom of Morocco.