Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

A Seminar on Spatial Organization and Rejuvenation of City Tourism Destinations: An Urban Walkability Approach

15 Dec 2015

On December 8, 2015 USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project (BEST) hosted a seminar based on ongoing research being carried out by Dr. Don Hawkins at George Washington University's School of Business with Dr. Salvador Anton, Research Scholar, International Institute of Tourism Studies and Prof. Chris Leinberger, Research Professor and Chairman, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis.

The seminar was organized by the USAID BEST project in cooperation with the Greater Amman Municipality and the Jordan Federation of Tourism Associations. USAID BEST project secured the participation of speaker Dr. Don Hawkins at the event. USAID BEST project and Dr. Hawkins are working together on an initiative that aims to link Jordan's tourism industry needs and educational provision.

The research is focused on how walkable places in cities create spatial dynamics for transforming the urban landscape through the rejuvenation of public space, enhancement of mobility and accessibility, development of heritage resources and expansion of recreational facilities and amenities. This process not only contributes to a quality visitor experience but also safeguards and enhances the quality of life for residents of the local community.

Sixty-seven participants engaged in interactive discussions relevant to city center development in Amman. Participants at the seminar included: tourism leaders, urban planners, architects, real estate developers, government officials, NGOs and stakeholders interested in city center development.

Seminar content included:
- Understanding how urban walkable places can enhance city tourism development and investment.
- Considering issues of cultural authenticity, accessibility and preservation from an economic and social equity perspective.
- Reviewing international good practices and innovative models in terms of their potential applicability to Amman.
- Considering the role of place-making in destination management to generate cooperation and stimulate urban economic activity.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Don Hawkins: At the George Washington University, he is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy and Professor of Management and Tourism Studies in the School of Business as well as Professor of International Affairs in the Elliott School of Foreign Affairs. In 2003, he received the first United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Ulysses Prize in 2004 for individual accomplishments in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. He was appointed as Special Advisor to the UNWTO Secretary General for the UNWTO Knowledge Network in 2012. Dr. Hawkins has been actively engaged in the UNWTO Global Summits on City Tourism in Istanbul and Barcelona and will speak at the next Global Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco on December 14 and 15, 2015. Over the past 30 years, he has been involved in tourism related technical assistance activities in Jordan supported by the World Bank Group, UN World Tourism Organization and USAID as well as assisting in the execution of a cooperative agreement between GWU and the University of Jordan.