Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Jordan Trail Association’s 1st Annual Thru-Hike Concludes

13 May 2017

Under the Patronage of the Minister of Tourism & Antiquities, Her Excellency Ms Lina Annab, the Jordan Trail Association concluded its 1st Annual Thru-hike today with the attendance of a number of officials at the Closing Ceremony in Aqaba, including HE Issa Gammoh, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism & antiquities, HE Sharhabeel Madi, the Commissioner for Tourism & Investments at Aseza, Dr Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat, head of Jordan Torurism Board, as well as representatives from Wadi Rum and Petra.  The Thru-hike attracted over 170 hikers and adventurers from all around the world including Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan, the United States of America, Great Britain, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, France, Australia, Philippines and Jordan.

The Thru-hike started on the 31st of March where hikers, accompanied by local guides, started their journey from Um Qais towards Aqaba, passing through 52 villages during their 650 kilometer hike.  More than 60 Jordanian families from these localities benefited economically from the activity by providing accommodation, food and drink, as well as guides to the hikers.

The Jordan Trail Association organized the Thru-hike with the assistance of the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities, the Jordan Tourism Board along with support from the USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project (BEST).  The Thru-hike was sponsored by Zain, WamdaCapital, Ayla, Syntax, Mood FM, Beat FM, Watar FM, JOFICO, JORAMCO and Al Judd.

The Jordan Tourism Board further supported the Jordan Trail Association by inviting adventure journalists from across the world to join the Thru-hike and experience the trail first hand.

The Minister of Tourism & Antiquities, Her Excellency Lina Annab, stated during the Closing Ceremony:"The Jordan Trail has really put Jordan on the map as a leading adventure tourism destination in the world and is gaining a lot of international and local attention. We are very supportive and pleased with the efforts of the Jordan Trail Association during this inaugural Thru-Hike that has spread awareness about the trail in addition to assisting in sustaining the Association.

Russell Bauer, Director of the Economic Development and Energy Office at USAID Jordan, said: “We are confident that as interest in the trail grows, we will see more hikers taking advantage of these amazing sites and services, and Jordan will achieve its potential to become a premier adventure tourism and trekking destination.”

Speaking on behalf of the Jordan Trail Association, Muna Haddad, President, said: "We are very proud of the success of the Thru-Hike and pleased to have had over 170 people joining us from around the world.  Over 75% of the hikers were from Jordan. It is incredible to see people come in to hike for a day or a section and keep coming back to do other sections. The appetite to get to know Jordan and its people intimately through hiking it is very encouraging for the Association to continue in its mission to make the trail accessible and open to all. I would like to thank all the local communities from the north of Jordan all the way to the south that hosted us and showcased their villages and towns to us; they are the real treasure of Jordan."

The General Manager of the Association, Bashir Daoud, expressed his happiness on the success of the Thru-hike, hoping that this will in turn create activity on the Jordan Trail, both in terms of domestic tourism as well as international, which in turn will enrich the local villages that the trail passes through, some of which are being highlighted and exposed to tourism for the first time. He concluded by saying: The Thru-hike will be organized by the Association every year as an annual fundraiser for the development of the trail and its localities.

The Jordan Trail Association also organized daily, weekend, and weekly hikes at the same time as the Thru-hike.  The Association has developed a comprehensive website where all information about the trail can be extracted, including maps and trail details for those who wish to hike unsupported.