Samer Muasher: Jordan Offers a Unique Blend of Culture and Sustainability
By Space Coast Daily // March 22, 2023
Jordan is a country that offers a one-of-a-kind blend of culture and nature. That is exactly what makes it a top destination for travelers looking for an unforgettable experience. From the ancient city of Petra to the breathtaking landscapes of Wadi Rum, Jordan has something to offer.
Samer Anis Mansour Mouasher, the Discovery Eco Tourism Chairman and CEO, emphasizes that Jordan’s competitiveness in the international tourism industry lies in the fact that it has an enormous eco-tourism potential.
Let’s learn more about Jordan’s unique combination of culture and sustainability.
Jordan – A Place where Culture and Nature Are in Harmony
Jordan’s cultural heritage is steeped in history and tradition. Visitors can explore ancient Roman ruins in Jerash, admire the intricate mosaics in Madaba, or marvel at the Byzantine-era architecture in Umm Qais.
Here are a few places every tourist should visit when exploring Jordan.
Petra – One of the Seven Wonders of the World
No trip to Jordan is complete without a visit to Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This ancient city, carved into the sandstone cliffs, is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Nabataean people who built it over 2,000 years ago.
Petra is accessed through a narrow gorge called the Siq, which is over one kilometer long and ends at the famous Treasury, one of its most recognizable landmarks. It represents an amazing facade that stands over 40 meters high. The intricate details and design of the Treasury reflect the Nabataean’s incredible skill and creativity in stonemasonry.
Beyond the Treasury, visitors can explore a vast array of other structures, including temples, tombs, amphitheaters, and houses. The Monastery is another iconic structure in Petra, located at the top of a long and winding staircase that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Petra is not only a remarkable architectural site, but it also has significant historical and cultural importance. The Nabataean people were an ancient Arab tribe that established a sophisticated society, trading and controlling a vast network of trade routes across the Middle East. Their wealth and power can be seen in the opulence of Petra’s buildings and the intricate details of its carvings.
Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world every year. The Jordanian government has implemented measures to protect and preserve the site, including limiting the number of visitors, providing educational programs, and working with local communities to promote sustainable tourism.
Ancient Roman Ruins in Jerash
Jerash is a city in Jordan that is famous for its well-preserved ancient Roman ruins. The city was known as Gerasa during Roman times. It was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, a confederation of ten Roman cities in the eastern Mediterranean.
The ruins of Jerash cover a large area and are some of the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. Visitors can explore the city’s impressive arches, columns, temples, and theaters, which date back to the 1st century AD.
One of the most notable structures in Jerash is the Oval Plaza, a large public square that was used for a variety of events, including chariot races and other public spectacles. The plaza is surrounded by a number of important buildings, including the Temple of Zeus, which was the largest temple in Jerash.
The South Theater is another impressive structure in Jerash, with a seating capacity for over 3,000 spectators. The theater is still used today for performances, and visitors can attend concerts and other events during the summer months.
Visitors to Jerash can also explore the ancient city’s intricate network of streets and alleys, which provide a glimpse into daily life in Roman times. Its impressive water supply system, which included underground tunnels and cisterns, is also well-preserved and can be seen throughout the ruins.
The Jordanian government has made significant investments in preserving and promoting the ruins of Jerash, including the construction of a visitor center, the restoration of ancient buildings, and the implementation of educational programs. As a result, Jerash has become a popular tourist destination and a symbol of Jordan’s rich cultural heritage.
Wadi Rum is a breathtaking desert valley in southern Jordan, known for its stunning landscapes, towering sandstone cliffs, and unique rock formations. The valley has been inhabited by Bedouin tribes for centuries and has played an important role in the region’s history and culture.
Visitors to Wadi Rum can explore the valley’s rugged terrain on foot, by camel, or by 4×4 vehicle. The valley is home to a number of impressive natural landmarks, including the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a series of massive sandstone rock formations that tower over the valley floor.
One of the most popular activities in Wadi Rum is camping, with visitors able to stay in traditional Bedouin tents or more modern luxury camps. The desert skies are incredibly clear, making it an ideal location for stargazing and watching the sunrise or sunset over the valley.
Wadi Rum has also been used as a backdrop for a number of famous movies, including Lawrence of Arabia and The Martian. Visitors can explore some of the filming locations and see the desert landscapes that captivated Hollywood filmmakers.
The Bedouin people of Wadi Rum are renowned for their hospitality and visitors can learn about their traditions and way of life through cultural experiences such as traditional meals and music performances.
The Jordanian government has made efforts to preserve the natural beauty and cultural significance of Wadi Rum, while also promoting sustainable tourism practices. Visitors are encouraged to respect the environment and local communities and to support responsible tourism initiatives.
Experience Jordan’s Commitment to Sustainability
Jordan is also committed to sustainability, with initiatives aimed at preserving its natural resources for future generations. The country has made significant investments in renewable energy and has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Visitors can also participate in eco-friendly activities such as hiking, cycling, and camping in the country’s many protected areas.
“Jordan Has an Enormous Ecotourism Potential” – Samer Muasher
Jordan offers a range of ecotourism opportunities that allow visitors to explore the country’s natural beauty while supporting sustainable tourism practices. From trekking in nature reserves to staying in eco-friendly accommodations, Jordan has something to offer for all nature lovers.
One of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Jordan is the Dana Biosphere Reserve, a protected area that covers over 300 square kilometers of stunning landscapes, including canyons, mountains, and deserts. Visitors can explore the reserve on foot, with a range of hiking trails that offer opportunities to see rare wildlife and stunning natural scenery.
Another popular destination for ecotourism in Jordan is the Azraq Wetland Reserve, a unique oasis that is home to a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. Visitors can explore the reserve on guided tours or by birdwatching, with opportunities to see species such as the Egyptian vulture, the imperial eagle, and the lesser kestrel.
Jordan also offers a range of eco-friendly accommodations, from traditional Bedouin tents to luxury lodges that prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility. Many of these accommodations offer opportunities for guests to learn about local culture and traditional ways of life, such as bread making, coffee roasting, and camel trekking.
Why Support Sustainable Tourism in Jordan?
As tourism continues to grow in Jordan, it is important to support sustainable travel initiatives. By choosing eco-friendly accommodations, supporting local businesses, and respecting the environment, visitors can help ensure that Jordan’s unique combination of culture and nature remains intact for future generations to enjoy.
“Visitors to Jordan can also support sustainable tourism practices by choosing to travel with tour operators and organizations that prioritize responsible tourism. Organizations such as Discovery Tourism Development, work to minimize the environmental impact of tourism, support local communities, and promote conservation efforts,” Samer Muasher emphasizes.
Jordan’s unique blend of culture and sustainability makes it an attractive destination for tourists seeking an authentic and responsible travel experience. The country’s rich history and cultural heritage offer a fascinating insight into the region’s past, while its commitment to sustainable tourism ensures that these treasures will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Jordan’s efforts to protect its natural environment through initiatives such as the Dana Biosphere Reserve and the Feynan Ecolodge provide visitors with an opportunity to connect with nature in a responsible way. As such, Jordan is a shining example of how tourism can benefit both visitors and the local community, while also promoting sustainable development.