Öko-Tourismus in Jordanien

Wenig bekannt sind die jordanischen Bestrebungen, auch Formen des sanften Tourismus anzubieten. Verantwortlich dafür ist die Königliche Naturschutzgesellschaft RSCN. Matthew Teller, den ich über Twitter kennenlernte, hat sich umgesehen und einen Bericht verfasst:

When you think of eco-tourism you might dream of an Algarve eco-village, trekking in the Alps, or whale watching in Scotland. You probably wouldn’t think of a holiday in one of the world’s most water- poor nations, where around 90% of the land is classified as arid desert. But then I’ve been visiting Jordan for more than 15 years, and it still manages to surprise me.

The Middle East is coming late to the eco-tourism party. While showy Gulf destinations trumpet the latest mega scheme, little Jordan has been quietly getting on with developing environmentally friendly, sustainable tourism from the grass roots up. At the vanguard has been the country’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, or RSCN.

Founded in 1966 to regulate hunting, the RSCN campaigned throughout the 1970s and 1980s on behalf of the Arabian oryx, an endangered desert antelope brought to the edge of extinction by hunting. In the process it slowly transformed itself into an organisation of dedicated conservationists.

Today the RSCN forms one of the region’s most determined and effective green lobbies, pressing the Jordanian government for preservation of the country’s fragile – and shrinking – natural habitats. Since the 1990s it has expanded into sustainable tourism as a way to support its conservation goals, gaining international recognition in October 2010 when the Wild Jordan tourism unit won the Guardian newspaper’s Ethical Travel Award.

It’s worth dropping by the Wild Jordan information centre, located just a stroll from Rainbow Street, Amman’s buzziest district of bookshops and craft outlets. Perched among historic, century-old villas on the slopes of Jabal Amman – jabal means hill, and this city has lots of them – its lively Wild Jordan Café (Othman bin Affan Street, tel: +962 (0)6 463 3542) is a lovely place to stop. The café does sensational drinks and smoothies – don’t miss the fresh-pressed frozen lemonade with mint – and is also one of the few places in Amman to make a selling point of its organic food, with ingredients sourced locally. You can book wilderness excursions around Jordan, learn more about the RSCN’s conservation work, and pick up craft items and handmade silver jewellery at the Nature Shop. But the rear terrace is the real draw: visit at sunset for amazing panoramic views of the city.

War ich noch nicht, möchte ich unbedingt mal hin.

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