In Jordan, in the last few years some local environmental NGOs started to take into consideration the development of eco-tourism facilities and of the eco-tourism concept as a whole. The aim of the eco-tourism activities in Jordan is: to have a substantial income for biodiversity protection, to make jobs and revenue for local communities, which create more support from local people for conservation and provide alternatives to ‘harmful’ land uses like grazing and hunting, and to raise awareness and have more support from decision makers, and the Jordanian population in general, who are able to see the tangible social and economic value of nature conservation.
In particular, the NGO Friends of the Earth Middle East created eco-tourism facilities in the Jordan River Valley, and in particular in the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark. While the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature created eco-tourism facilities and activities in the protected areas of: Dana, Mujib, Ajloun, and Azraq.
As far as the latter NGO is concerned, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is the most developed for eco-tourism: guest house, campsite and eco-lodge plus a series of paths and tour programmes. Many visitors and tourists come to Dana because of the amazing mountain scenary and because of the possibility of hiking.
In the Jordan River Valley, in the Mujib Reserve, an exciting river trails that takes you through deep gorges of red sandstone lined with palm trees and down high waterfalls, assisted by ropes, has been developed. In 2008 a ‘chalet village’ has been opened at the edge of the Dead Sea offering overnight accommodation with spectacular sea views.
On the other hand, in the northern part of Jordan, you can find the Ajloun Forest Reserve that offers tranquil wooded hills, which you can enjoy by staying in a tented lodge or more individual cabins. A range of trails and tours have been developed from the Reserve to enable visitors to see important archaeological sites and experience local village culture as well as the local flora.
In the Eastern Jordanian Desert lies the Azraq Wetland Reserve and its oasis is famous for migrating birds. A unique lodge has been created nearby in a renovated 1940’s British Field Hospital that offers a comfortable and very unusual base from which to explore the wetland and the Eastern Desert.
Concluding, I believe that it is nice that these NGOs are trying to raise awareness into the population about environment and biodiversity. Let’s hope that these initiatives and activities will help a good impact on Jordan!