MED GAIMS is applying the concept of experiential tourism to enrich a traditional archeological site visit in Jordan
Experiential tourism is a contemporary tourism concept that seeks to enable the tourist to coexist with the hosting community. The mechanisms within this concept integrate different touristic experiences, such as historical tourism, rural tourism, community based-tourism, in one experience regardless of geographical distances. This allows for more interactions between tourists and the locals along diverse aspects such as food, culture, daily activities and even customs and traditions.
Besides its Roman ruins, the archeological site of Gadara also hosts the old village of Umm Qais, House of Umm Qais. Till forty years ago, the houses along the Gadara alley were full of life. The residents were engaged in economic activities, primarily of the agricultural type, and were trading with their neighboring communities. The facilities of any of these houses reflected the living and social status of its inhabitants, which relied on the size of their economic activities. Unfortunately, most of this action has vanished leaving just deserted houses. If applied to this site, Experiential Tourism would leverage the tourists’ experience from a traditional archeological site visit, to a new level.
The revival of the old village of Umm Qais will restore its timeworn lifestyle with the added value of engaging the tourists in living the traditional life of Umm Qais’s inhabitants in the last century. Moreover, such project would communicate to tourists the process of society progress and the changes in customs, such as weddings, and the development of people’s problem solving capacity in their daily life. Lastly, the tourists will feel the excitement of the experience of watching the restoration of the old houses from their current sad status.