CROSSDEV: A new era of tourism in Umm Qais, Jordan
The town of Umm Qais, in northern Jordan, witnessed a number of different historic periods over time: Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman, and it is today considered as a potential destination for “Nature Tourism”, such as adventure tourism, hiking, biking and agritourism. Nonetheless, Umm Quais is still a less-known destination, visited every year by a little number of tourists.
In September 2019, Umm Qais has become part of the CROSSDEV project, together with a number of other destinations in the Mediterranean area in Italy, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.
CROSSDEV will contribute to bring new types of tourism in the intervention areas and will create new business opportunities for the locals while preserving and boosting their natural and cultural heritage.
Believing in the importance of involving locals, CROSSDEV will cooperate with communities, stakeholders and institutions that are already busy in similar activities. Among them, we have the pleasure to mention Mr. Musa Al Nawashi, a poet, artist, and the head of the Gadara Cultural Forum – an association for the protection of the most ancient and famous ruins of the area. He is also employed at the Ministry of Education and in charge of media and communication in the district. As one of the most prominent activists in town, Mr. Al Nawashi has excellent connections with local businesses providing services to tourists, such as biking, handicrafts, and accommodations.
CROSSDEV partner JUST – Jordan University of Science and Technology – met with Mr. Al Nawashi following the start of the project.
We are working hard to attract more tourists to the region through tourism festivals, rhymes and poetry evenings to which we invite poets and artists from inside and outside Jordan. All this, in order to attract tourists to the place where the region enjoys and contains all components of tourism: historical, geographical, environmental, religious, curative and meditative
His wife, Mrs. Linda Obaidat, established a local community kitchen at home after receiving a dedicated training. Mrs. Obidat’s activity is already very well organized and serves popular dishes on demand through advance coordination with tour operators. Now, she hopes that new tourists flow will create a larger demand of services that local communities can supply through new businesses.
In Umm Qais, Mr. Nawashi and Mrs. Obaidat are not alone in hoping that the growing interest in sustainable, natural and cultural tourism will allow local people to start new businesses in town. During the first meetings with local stakeholders, various people supported CROSSDEV’s willingness in working together to develop a comprehensive plan to make the most of all tourist assets of Umm Qais. They are expecting CROSSDEV to help locals through trainings, marketing and empowerment. New ideas and solutions will help develop and revitalize their businesses, such as the production of handicrafts, while also bringing the community together.
Mr. Al Nawashi and Mrs. Obaidat both agree that people in Umm Qais are ready and open to new ideas and ways to improve their skills in order to welcome a new era of tourism in Umm Qais.
The challenge is now on. And we are ready to face it!