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Celebrating World Tourism Day 2019 in Jordan

Sep 21,2019 - Last updated at Sep 21,2019

Jordan’s tourism sector depends mainly on its iconic cultural heritage sites — five of which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List — and diverse natural resources that attract substantial tourist flows, reaching up to five million tourists contributing JD3.5 billion in revenue, constituting 12.4 per cent of GDP, and more than 53,341 direct employments in 2018.

Meanwhile, the sustainability of Jordan’s tourism resources are threatened by irresponsible practices represented in littering and dumping garbage along with increased degradation of cleanliness standards at major historical sites, forests and tourist facilities by the public.

Such actions are negatively impacting the image and competiveness of Jordan as a tourist destination offering local cultural experiences to visitors; thus minimising the vast socio-economic benefits that could be entailed from the tourism sector represented in job opportunities, especially for youth and women in local communities.  

Hence, in order for Jordan to reap the socio-economic potentials from the tourism sector to meet the national tourism strategies and reach the Sustainable Development agenda for 2030, there is a need to address the issue of litter in cities, rural areas, tourist and cultural heritage sites through a comprehensive approach at the national level. 

For this reason Jordan will celebrate World Tourism Day 2019, “Tourism and jobs: A better future for all”, with an unprecedented approach. The clean-up day on September 28, the “Himmeh w lammeh” initiative, developed by the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) in strategic partnership with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, aims at reaching one million volunteers to clean up 40 tourist, heritage and natural sites distributed all over Jordan from the north to the south. 

The initiative seeks to highlight the enormity of the problem, increase awareness on the value of tourism and the environment as key sectors directly contributing to creating job opportunities, economic resilience, social inclusiveness and the wellbeing of our society.

It is worth mentioning that this initiative goes further than the clean-up day on September 28.  

The initiative holds an ambitious long-term agenda to actualise change in terms of perception and behaviour of Jordanian citizens through building ethical tourism and environmental practices, launching a tourism education-focused curriculum, lobbying to enforce environmental laws and regulations that ensure responsible policies and creating a sustainable environment for the generations to come.

The clean-up initiative is developed under the JITOA component of promoting the World Tourism organisation (UNWTO) Global Code of Ethics for Tourism through corporate social responsibility, led by a group of dedicated volunteers, and by JITOA Junior board members. 

The initiative is being implemented on September 28 in partnership with all government and non-government institutions, local initiatives, educational institutions, embassies, tourism companies and other organisations in relevant sectors. 

 

The writer is member of “Himmeh w lammeh” team-JITOA, and alternate member of UNWTO- WCTE.

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