Tourism Cares and the Jordan Tourism Board have launched the first-ever Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan, researching and documenting 12 experiences that are at once powerful and positive for both travelers and communities.
The map, released following 2017's International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, addresses two overlapping trends for tourism today: demand from travelers for authentic, sustainable experiences that make a difference, and the need to use the power of travel to help people and places thrive.
The Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan was released as part of the Tourism Cares with Jordan delegation, a group of 70 leaders from the North American travel industry committed to exploring travel's potential to drive social impact through tourism.
Each of the 12 experiences is offered by a nonprofit organization or social enterprise that, in addition to providing a quality cultural experience for travelers, has a program for directly benefiting a disadvantaged population.
"Any trip to Jordan wouldn't be complete without a visit to Petra and Wadi Rum—and one or two of these enterprises that offer a unique insight into the spirit and people of Jordan," said Ms. Lina Annab, Jordan's Minister of Tourism & Antiquities. "Our people and communities have as much to offer as our heritage, and the good news is that you don't have to choose. You can make a special difference just by coming."
The potential of these enterprises is illustrated in the story of Halima Al Qa'aydeh, who started with the Bani Hamida Women's Weaving Project as a volunteer, rose to supervisor and project manager, and now is one of six women elected in municipal elections. Another is Eisa, a hiking guide who, since the 2017 launch of the Jordan Trail, has seen business boom so much that he has added a second floor to his home to host guests. Um Khalid has a longer story: Tourism has allowed this baker of shrak bread for the Feynan Ecolodge since its founding to buy solar panels, electrify her goat hair tent and purchase a washing machine.
The Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan is distinctive for two reasons: the extensive due diligence and research behind each of the 12 listings, which is made available to travelers; and being designed explicitly as a resource for both travelers and the travel industry. These quality experiences will benefit from increased visibility and visitation, creating a win-win-win for travelers, company and community.
"The very act of travel can be a force for good and these experiences are really about connecting people: travelers who are exploring Jordan and the dynamic local leaders who are moving these communities forward," said Derek Hydon, chairman of the Tourism Cares Board of Directors.
The map may be accessed at www.GoLocalJordan.com with contact information and profiles available for each, including for download.
The 12 organizations featured
- Al Numeira Environmental Association: Bike, snack and get dirty in their gardens and other projects, learning with one of the Rift Valley's newest social startups.
- Ammarin Bedouin Camp: Any stay at this camp, founded and owned by the local Bedouin, promises living heritage and impact in the shadow of Petra.
- Bait Khayrat Souf: This tranquil kitchen and garden serves up local breakfast, goods and cooking lessons, while providing training and jobs to local women.
- Baraka Destinations: the perfect detour for the social traveler—experience this cluster of local tourism experiences and businesses in villages off the beaten path.
- Bani Hamida Women's Weaving Project: Try your hand at traditional weaving, boosting women's rights and livelihoods.
- Feynan Ecolodge: Go green and local at this award-winning lodge at the Dana Biosphere—and build local jobs and conservation.
- Iraq al Amir Women's Cooperative: learn traditional papermaking, pottery and more with your family at this renowned center for local training and knowledge.
- The Jordan Trail Association: Hike any stretch of its 650 unique kilometers and drive communities forward with every step.
- Montreal Hotel: Re-enact the battles of Saladin and the Crusaders, and support the veterans of today.
- Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature: Explore and shop with Jordan's environmental champion, with things to do and impact everywhere.
- Summaga Café: Take a break in your visit to Ajloun Castle to dine on 100 percent organic fare from a women-led farmers' cooperative.
- Syrian Jasmine: Celebrate multicultural Jordan by learning soap making and crochet, helping their newest residents and women entrepreneurs.
The Tourism Cares with Jordan project is made possible by the TRIP Foundation, Trip Mate, The Travel Corporation, American Society of Travel Agents, Marriott Hotels of Jordan, the Bob Whitley Memorial Fund and the Jordan Tourism Board.
Courtesy of Tourism Cares.