Business and Pleasure for the Economy of Occupation
This flash-report exposes the role of private digital tourism corporations in promoting tourism to settlements, falsely advertising them as being located in Israel and normalizing their illegal presence on occupied Palestinian and Syrian land.
From the onset of its 1967 military occupation, Israel recognized the substantial market potential of tourism to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and pursued a dual strategy for its aggressive exploitation, heavily investing in Israeli tourist enterprises beyond the Green Line while simultaneously restricting and actively de-developing the Palestinian tourism industry.
With emerging markets of digital tourism and online booking platforms, more Israeli and multinational corporations have been reaping enormous profits from tourism in the oPt, strengthening Israel's illegal hold over Palestinian and Syrian populations, economy, and land.
In this flash-report, Who Profits aims to expose the corporate involvement of the digital tourism industry in Israeli settlements, looking specifically at the multinational giants Booking.com, Airbnb and TripAdvisor, and their subsidiaries. Not only are these companies abetting Israel's violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) by extending their services to settlers, but their advertising practices echo the mislabeling of settlement products as "Made in Israel."
Who Profits found that all three companies misrepresent settlement properties in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Syrian Golan as located in "Israel" or in "an Israeli settlement," obscuring the legal and ethical implications of booking properties located in occupied territories. By employing tactics of deceptive advertising, companies violate basic principles of consumer protection laws to secure their profit.