CROSSDEV in Jordan trains locals to become the best tourist hosts
The town of Umm Qais, in northern Jordan, witnessed several different historic periods over time: Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman, and is currently considered a potential destination for “Nature Tourism”. Yet, the active, creative and ambitious local community is in need of improving their skills in order to meet new tourists’ expectations.
The CROSSDEV team from project partner JUST – the Jordan University of Science and Technology – organised a training aimed at empowering locals and giving them the right abilities to welcome future tourists and create the most suitable and appealing tourism experience.
The 17-days intensive training started this December at the Umm Qais archaeological site and involved small and medium sized entrepreneurs. The trainings focused on management, finance, marketing, digitalisation of services, quality assurance, photography, interior design, and communication skills. In addition to practical work and field visits, supported by experts in each field, the participants also got in touch with home-based and local community-based innovative businesses and initiatives, ranging from hotels, kitchens, adventure trails, agriculture, handicrafts and many other outstanding projects. The scope? Not only empowering the locals, but also creating a cooperative network of people dedicated to tourism in the area.
Among the participants, Jana Al-Masri, that achieved a home-based work professional license thanks to her perseverance, innovative ideas, sewing and packaging skills.
Jana said" I am looking through this training to reach outside markets and improve my skills". Not everyone is able to expand their business to new markets, but e-marketing and e-commerce is pretty much on everyone’s agenda nowadays in Umm Qais, as participants realised the power of online visibility.
On one training days, participants visited Linda Obeidat’s kitchen. While proudly setting the table of her “Sufret Lean” initiative, she explained that work is slowing down due to the pandemic, and that she needs to expand her reach. Undoubtedly, travelling restrictions mean lost opportunities and lots of struggling for locals like Linda. Increasing online presence and visibility can help improve the situation, and this is exactly what CROSSDEV is doing at the moment, contributing to increase attractiveness of less known touristic destinations such as Umm Qais, and to diversify tourism offerings through the promotion of local and territorial drivers in off season periods.
The whole Umm Qais area will benefit.
The participants also visited “Beit Naela” and sampled the delicious homemade condiments and food products by Naela Al-Akash, which included ‘makdous’, ‘labneh-in-oil’, jams, olives and many other products. Naela’s only wish is to get a professional kitchen and a shelf to display her products.
In this training, CROSSDEV tried to be different by integrating the theoretical dimension with the practical dimension through visits to successful projects to benefit and understand the strengths and weaknesses in their projects. On Monday, the 13th of December, the participants visited the Dead Sea Medical Center to learn about the best practices in the kitchen, room service and reception. The participants expressed their happiness and thanks to the CROSSDEV project for providing the opportunity of such visits, which expand their horizons in improve quality of service.
Everything starts from the roots and empowering local communities not only guarantees healthier styles of living but enhances the macro economies as well.
CROSSDEV – Cultural Routes for Sustainable Social and economic Development in Mediterranean – is funded by the European Union through the ENI CBC MED Programme and contributes to the socio-economic development of the target areas using sustainable tourism as the mail tool.