By Dina Jaber
Born in 1964 in the Palestinian town of Kharbatha Bani Harith, Jamal Al-Nimer is the chairman of the Carmel and Caesar hotels and the secretary of the Arab Hotel Association.
His is the story of a passionate Palestinian who, after having earned a BA in business administration from Birzeit University in 1986, started his career as an accountant and became one of the most successful businessmen in Palestine, fostering a new image of tourism and elevating the level of hospitality services in the country. Born into a poor family, Jamal found his way in life by recognizing that harsh circumstances are nothing but a blessing in disguise. It did not take him more than six months of working as an accountant to realize that a full-time job was not an option for him. He soon engaged in free trade and gradually opened franchises of various brands of European ceramics in Palestine and the Middle East, in addition to investing in real estate development.
At the same time, Jamal invested in the hotel industry and hospitality services, believing in the sector’s potential to expand and provide economic opportunities, forming a pathway to prosperity in Palestine. Palestine has a comparative advantage in tourism, as it is the cradle of three major religions and can boast a lineage of countless civilizations whose vivid influence continues to this day. In addition, it offers a multitude of touristic attractions and is characterized by a great variety of geographic regions and natural habitats. These values make Palestine a year-round vacation destination and one of the top tourism destinations in the world. Thus, Jamal embarked on a quest to create recreational facilities with high-quality services that enhance the hospitality industry and tourism sector in Palestine.
Caesar Hotel was Jamal’s first investment in hospitality before he decided to promote the level of services and provide guests with the ultimate hotel experience in Palestine by establishing Carmel Hotel. At 940 meters above sea level, with a breathtaking view of the cities of Ramallah and Jerusalem, Carmel Hotel and its high-quality spas, swimming pool, and recreational facilities are prepared to provide guests with a unique experience of Arab hospitality.
Caesar and Carmel hotels currently employ around 220 employees and provide 180 rooms with complete facilities and high-quality services. Jamal explains that developing hotels and hospitality services in Palestine not only contributes to economic development and the prosperity of Palestinians by providing job opportunities, the sector also serves as a platform to reflect the rich culture of Palestine and its distinctive identity. Thus, investing in the hospitality industry contributes to shaping a better image of Palestine worldwide.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has brought tourism to a near standstill, and reviving the hospitality industry in Palestine will be hard to attain in the near future. Jamal notes that despite the current clouds on the horizon, the hotel industry is moving toward a bright future and will overcome the pandemic. This is due to the fact that travel demand will likely be higher than ever, and the hospitality industry is expected to witness an explosive rebound once life returns to normal.