Lonely Planet Writer

Connect with locals and travel Jordan with a purpose using this new map

Travel is a great way to have new experiences, but there are also many ways to also give back to the incredible destinations we visit. That’s why there’s a new “Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan” that outlines twelve different experiences that are positive for both travellers and local communities.

The rock-cut architecture of Al Khazneh or The Treasury at Petra, Jordan with large group of people sitting on the ground at night. Image by Mint Images/Getty Images

Created by Tourism Cares and the Jordan Tourism Board, the map is aimed at combining two trends in tourism: “demand from travellers for authentic, sustainable experiences that make a difference, and the need to use the power of travel to help people and places thrive.” Each one of the experiences is offered by a non-profit of a social enterprise, so they not provide both a cultural experience and support locals.

For example, try out traditional weaving at Bani Hamida Women’s Weaving Project, an enterprise focused on boosting women’s rights and livelihoods. The project has helped people like Halima Al Qa’aydeh, who began as a volunteer, became a supervisor and project manager, and is now one of six women elected in municipal elections, according to the tourism group.

A Bedouin guide leads his two dromedary camels over the tall dunes of Wadi Rum. Image by ©Tom Mackie/Lonely Planet

Another way to have an incredible experience is to follow the Jordan Trail, a new hiking trail that crosses the country for an epic 40-day hike. After its launch in 2017, the trail has already started to benefit locals, like Eisa, a hiking guide, who has seen so many more guests coming to the area that he has added a second floor to give them a place to stay. You can also stay in the Ammarin Bedouin Camp, to learn history near Petra, or stop by the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative to learn traditional papermaking, pottery and more.

“Any trip to Jordan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Petra and Wadi Rum – and one or two of these enterprises that offer a unique insight into the spirit and people of Jordan,” said Lina Annab, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, in a statement. “Our people and communities have as much to offer as our heritage, and the good news is that you don’t have to choose. You can make a special difference just by coming.” Travellers in Europe will have another option to visit Jordan this year, as budget airline Ryanair has announced 14 new flights from European hubs to Amman and Aqaba.

See the map and find out more about all of the experiences at www.GoLocalJordan.com.