Supporting small scale tourism projects during difficult times

Jordan is opening its arms to welcome international visitors, as worldwide travel restrictions around Covid-19 begin to ease.

Jordanians pride themselves on being excellent hosts, but how can international visitors to Jordan ensure they are ‘good guests’?

In other words, how can international tourists actively support Jordanians involved in tourism? How, in particular, can tourists support small scale, community owned tourism projects?

For context, read the previous post Covid Effects which considers the economic hardships endured by the local community in Dana and Qadisiyah villages, and the resultant challenges facing the Dana Cooperative’s tourism projects in 2021 and beyond. 

Here is a list of practical suggestions offering simple ways for tourists to engage in active support.  Nothing on the list is rocket science! Its purpose is to serve as a reminder, and to offer post readers an opportunity to add to the list. Please make your suggestions in the comments section at the end of the post.

If you are planning a visit to Jordan or are already in Jordan:

  • Stay in locally owned establishments rather than international hotel chains;
  • Eat in your hotel/lodge/camp’s restaurant;
  • If eating out, eat in a local restaurant or from a local takeaway restaurant;
  • Avoid international restaurant chains;
  • Use local guides arranged through your hotel/lodge/camp, where possible;
  • Use local drivers arranged through your hotel/lodge/camp;
  • Use local taxis;
  • Buy from local shops and souks;
  • Avoid international chain stores (clothes, jewellery, accessories etc.);
  • Seek out and buy local handicrafts and souvenirs;
  • Avoid buying handicrafts and souvenirs at airport shops;
  • Don’t haggle prices, or if you feel you must haggle, don’t haggle hard! People want your business. Tourist numbers are low and prices have been set taking this into account;
  • Always leave a tip, if you can;
  • Keep in mind that the cost of living is high for Jordanians, salaries are low compared to western countries, and unemployment is high.

To support the Dana Cooperative’s tourism projects, in particular:

  • Visit Dana Village and the Dana Nature Reserve
  • Book a stay at one of the Dana Cooperative’s sustainable tourism establishments;
  • Book your transport to Dana (and from Dana) with one of the Cooperative’s drivers;
  • Book one of the Dana Cooperative’s guides and explore the Dana Nature Reserve;
  • Try the other activities and experiences offered for tourists;
  • Leave a review of your stay on TripAdvisor or similar. 

If you intend to have an extended stay in Jordan or are an ex-pat living in Jordan:

  • Consider all of the items listed above, and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same;
  • Consider volunteering with a local community cooperative or association running community owned, sustainable tourism projects, such as the Dana Cooperative; 
  • Consider donating to a local community, for example the Dana Cooperative seeks and coordinates donations of food, clothes, household items, money etc. and distributes the donations to those most in need within its local community.

Please use the comments section below to add suggestions.

The contents of this post express my views and are not necessarily the views of the Dana Cooperative. 

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