More and more these days, discerning travellers are searching for more meaningful and impactful experiences and certainly Jordan provides them with an opportunity to take a deep dive into the country’s fascinating and diverse culture, connect with locals, and experience an authentic side of this desert kingdom that will make for profound and lasting memories.
And, perhaps, more importantly, travellers will be making decisions that leave lasting positive impacts on the communities they visit.
To help travellers navigate the options, the Jordan Tourism Board North America has created the Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan in a partnership with the non-profit organization Tourism Cares.
The interactive map enables visitors wanting authentic and sustainable experiences to plan a journey through Jordan with stops at a variety of innovative social enterprises.
JTBNA’s director, Malia Asfour travelled with Tourism Cares to Colombia this month to attend the Meaningful Travel Summit and help launch Colombia’s own Meaningful Travel Map based on the success of this initiative in Jordan.
Said Asfour: “It gives me tremendous joy to see what we started with Tourism Cares in Jordan continue to grow internationally. Colombia’s meaningful travel map is another testament for the desire to go local and connect tourism with local experiences that foster deeper connections between travelers and the people they meet. By buying local and contributing to local economies we can help sustain and keep communities thriving.”
For example, in Amman, you can visit the inspiring women of Syrian Jasmine House. Created by Syrian refugee Lara Shaheen, it started with a small office and five fellow Syrian women working from home creating traditional Syrian food and artisanal crafts.
It has since grown into a thriving social enterprise, employing 10 people and buying merchandise from 70 other women. Visitors can learn soap-making, crochet and other traditional skills while getting to know some of these Syrian immigrants who have forged a new life in Jordan.
In the Rift Valley village of Numeira, southeast of the Dead Sea, locals formed the Al Numeira Environmental Association after becoming disheartened by the amount of garbage and pollution in their area. The non-profit is now making a big impact on the local quality of life by promoting water conservation and traditional farming practices while educating community members about sustainable lifestyle choices.
Visitors can experience outdoor activities such as canyoning and hiking while learning more about Al Numeira’s conservation and education initiatives.
In the Dana Biosphere Reserve, when visitors stay at Feynan Ecolodge they are generating revenue for conservation and creating nature-based employment and income for nearby rural Bedouin communities.
Established in 2005 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and operated by EcoHotels, a Jordanian company, Feynan Lodge is a pioneering ecotourism success story.
Go to www.GoLocalJordan.com to check out the JTBNA’s Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan at www.GoLocalJordan.com.