Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Hiking Specialist David Landis Walks the Jordan Trail

7 Nov 2016
David Landis

The Jordan Trail Association, supported by USAID BEST, brought American publisher and outdoor adventure specialist David Landis to Jordan to assist in gathering data for a potential Jordan Trail guidebook. As an experienced hiker and author of the 2013 guide, “Hiking the Camino de Santiago”, Mr. Landis had much to offer. Landis began his journey along the 650 kilometers of a breath-taking mountainous view of Um-Qais in the north of Jordan and ended in the south at the Red Sea in Aqaba. 

Reflecting on his trek Landis said, “Hiking the Jordan Trail was a wonderful journey, offering an in-depth way to experience the diversity of the country with its layers of culture, history and natural treasures. It was a privilege to be a part of the first thru-hiking group on the Jordan Trail, one that I believe will pave the way for generations of Jordanians to walk the trail and learn more about their country. An amazing network of supporters has been working hard together to develop the path to showcase it's potential, and I look forward to supporting the project as it grows.”

With the assistance of Landis’ expertise, JTA was able to complete data collection for the guidebook, which entailed updating information for maps and GPS systems, creating an outline of nearby facilities and attractions, assigning difficulty to each part of the trail, capturing photos, and more. Landis completed his journey in 33 days, accompanied by Amjad Shahrour from the Jordan Trail Association, renowned Jordanian videographer/photographer Ali Barqawi, and many other supporters.

While still in the development stages, the purpose of the guidebook would be to make the Jordan Trail more accessible and appealing to visitors by offering as much guidance as possible to create informative and rewarding hiking experiences. According to Landis, a guidebook is also, “a major marketing function for the trail”. As it is still young in its development, “an official guidebook that people can see and buy will allow them to consider the trail as real and serious”. Landis believes, “if the guidebook can generate more hikers, local and foreign, it can also generate more income, more jobs and a sense of social cohesion amongst the intersecting communities”.  A published Jordan Trail guidebook ultimately has the potential to draw attention to Jordan as a desirable adventure travel destination for people all across the globe.

Landis encourages all to, “Just go for it! Don’t wait! The trail is there and to be able to walk on paths that are thousands of years old today is this amazing invitation to step in to a piece of history and an opportunity to see the country in an entirely different way. You’re not just a tourist you are a traveler through all these communities.” Landis believes that the Jordan Trail is a “world-class trail” that has much potential. Trekkers choosing the Jordan Trail will not only view the diversity of Jordan’s landscape, but also get a glimpse of the culture and beauty of its people.