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King visits Shobak, urges capitalising on its potential in tourism, agriculture

By JT - Jul 22,2020 - Last updated at Jul 22,2020

His Majesty King Abdullah tours a stall showcasing homemade products by local women during a visit to Shobak on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday urged capitalising on the potential of Shobak District in tourism, agriculture and local production, which would empower the local community and create job opportunities.

During a visit to the district and a meeting with local community representatives, King Abdullah called for diversifying the tourism product by offering adventure tourism and linking Shobak with the “golden triangle” of Aqaba, Wadi Rum and Petra to enrich tourists’ experience and benefit the local community, according to a Royal Court statement.

His Majesty directed the concerned stakeholders to devise an action plan for tourism projects in Shobak, stressing the need to enhance its infrastructure to better attract visitors.

Promotion of Shobak’s attractions should target domestic tourists and international visitors, the King said, calling for benefitting from the National Self-employment Programme “Inhad” to start small enterprises in the tourism sector that encourage visitors to stay longer.

Calling for turning local community suggestions into investments on the ground, His Majesty said follow-up is key to ensure successful implementation.

The King directed the government to enable local farmers to access water resources, stressing the need to develop the agricultural sector and support light industries that serve the local community.

Speaking at the meeting, Tourism Minister Majd Shweikeh said the ministry is working to turn Shobak into a key attraction for hiking and adventure tourism by enhancing the infrastructure, diversifying the tourism product and training local communities.

King Abdullah II Fund for Development Director Saeb Al Hasan provided a briefing on the role of the fund’s Jordanian Heritage Revival Company in developing the tourism product by reenacting historical eras from Jordan’s heritage in Shobak, Petra, Wadi Rum and Umm Qais.

Also during the meeting, local community representatives thanked His Majesty for meeting with them and listening to their concerns, commending the King’s directives to the government on countering coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Calling for attracting more investments in agriculture, tourism, industry and energy to create job opportunities, they also stressed the importance of putting Shobak on the tourism map.

Moreover, they commended His Majesty’s position in defence of the Palestinian cause and in safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as his efforts to serve Arab and Islamic causes, noting Jordan’s rejection of any Israeli unilateral measure to annex West Bank lands.

During the visit to Shobak, the King viewed homemade products by local women displayed at Montreal Hotel, an affiliate of the Cooperative Tourist Society of the Shobak Villages Union.

His Majesty commended the women’s role in supporting tourism in the district, directing the government to empower women in Shobak through opportunities to market their products.

The King also toured the Shobak Castle visitor centre and was briefed on efforts to restore and conserve the castle.

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Al Khasawneh, Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kamal Al Nasser, and the governor of Maan accompanied His Majesty on the visit.

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