Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Guide training course brings new opportunities to residents of As-Salt

USAID BEST, in partnership with the Salt Development Corporation (SDC), is providing training to residents of As-Salt to become future guides for the city as part of efforts to enhance tourism experiences and create work opportunities for the local community. Following a call for applications in September 2018, 18 new trainees and 6 experienced guides began the training course. Most are residents of As-Salt or of Salti origin, and 12 of them are women.

The applicants were evaluated by a committee of representatives from SDC, BEST, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and the Ammon Applied University College of Hospitality and Tourism.

The course, which runs until November, is equipping trainees with the knowledge and skills to guide visitors along the city walking trails of As-Salt. It covers topics from geography, geology and history to religious tourism, architectural models, guiding skills and English for tourism. The course includes field training that covers the main touristic spots in As-Salt downtown area, like Al Khader Church, Citadel Hill and Al Ein Square. It also allows participants to venture beyond the trail into surrounding areas, such as Wadi Shueib and Al-Maghtas. This will provide them with comprehensive knowledge and experience that will qualify them for a career in guiding.

"Wow! I cannot describe how I feel about the training and the things that I've been learning so far,” said Sajeda Al Zo’bi, one of the trainees. She added, “I thought that I knew my hometown very well, but through the training I discovered that there's a lot that I had not known about the history and geography of As-Salt and many other details."

"Although I'm from As Salt and have been living here my whole life, I've learned so many things that I didn't know before,” reiterated Anwar Abu Hamoor, another participant. He added, “In addition, the course drew my attention to the guidelines that we need to follow to become professionals in guiding."

Husam Arabiat, one of the experienced trainees, has been a guide for four years. He said, “I've joined this course to gain more knowledge and develop my skills. For me, the training will enable me to answer every single question addressed to me, as it covers gaps in our knowledge as guides.”

The course concludes in November and participants will be eligible to apply for positions as freelance local tour guides through SDC to guide visitors.

The course is part of wider efforts by SDC and USAID BEST to establish As-Salt and its rural areas as an attractive tourism destination under the Distinctive Destination Program.