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Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Daniel Case/Creative Commons
World News

Coronavirus to take economic toll on Holy Land

by Heather Preston

The Holy Land is being hit hard economically from the coronavirus pandemic.

There are concerns that Christians who are reliant on religious tourism could be facing financial trouble as Covid-19 confinement measures mean many pilgrims are staying away from the region. 

Thousands have already left following the crisis while various pilgrimages and religious sites have been closed down.

"Many Christians will suffer from this, especially in Bethlehem, because they are employed in the tourist sector," Friar Ibrahim Faltas from the Custody of the Holy Land told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

"Without pilgrims, no one works," he added.

With tourist spots including souvenir shops, restaurants and transport companies all closing their doors, social care schemes in the region have also suffered as much of the community work carried out by Christian charities and churches is funded by tourism.

Another significant revenue stream that could be threatened by the pandemic is the Good Friday Collection - an annual donation taken up in Catholic Churches to support the work of the Franciscans in the Holy Land. This collection makes up 80 per cent of the Church in the Holy Land's income. 

It has been reported that the collection may have to be rescheduled as many Catholic worshippers will be unable to attend churches to make a contribution.

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