The Alternative Tourism Groupggerousis
Alternative Tourism Group (ATG)- Study Center
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The 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. Since its establishment, ATG has provided its services to thousands of people from all over the world.
- 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 Palestinians 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 predominates 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 1997, the ATG has started the Homestay program, in order to have the tourists and pilgrims interact with the local people, enrich their understanding of Palestinian culture, extend their circle of friendship, and appreciate Palestinian hospitality, taste local traditional food. The ATG has also a well-established study center that produces researches and publications related to Palestinian tourism and alternative tourism. The ATG published the first comprehensive Palestinian guidebook “Palestine and Palestinians”. The guidebook is available in 7 languages, German, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. 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 materials and practical information, making it an invitation to discover Palestine. The ATG has also developed an Application “Palestine & Palestinians”, which has valuable information for travellers, before and during their visit to Palestine. The Application can be downloaded for free from the App store for Apple devices, and the play store for Android devices. Besides our quarterly Newsletter “Palestine & Palestinians”, the ATG has an Alternative Tourism Journal in which publications specifically related to alternative tourism are produced.