Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Tourism creates job opportunities for young women in As-Salt

6 Jan 2020

As-Salt, an increasingly popular tourism destination in Jordan, lies 35 kilometers from Amman. The city’s appeal stems from its Ottoman-era heritage, narrow winding streets, 19th century homes, and quaint staircases. As part of efforts to expand tourism offerings, involve the community and increase awareness of the tourism potential in As-Salt, the Salt Development Corporation (SDC) enhanced city walking trails and recruited and trained seven new trail guides, the majority of whom are young women from As-Salt. USAID BEST helped enhance the city walking trails by improving interpretation and storytelling, training new guides, developing guiding manuals and a price scheme for the walking trails experiences, adding café stops to the routes, upgrading traditional shops along the trails, and introducing interactive engaging experiences.

Siwar Faouri, a 25-year-old woman from As-Salt, didn’t know much about tourism or have any interest in working in the sector until she heard about a local guide training course being offered by SDC. She took the course and discovered a new career that she loves. Siwar is now employed by the SDC as a tour guide and loves to show visitors her city.

“Before, I knew nothing about tourism. Learning about it opened my eyes. Tourism in As-Salt improved dramatically after developing tourist offerings such as the As-Salt city trails; tourists have even started coming without reservations. They actually come knowing a bit about As-Salt, and they are amazed by the historic and traditional elements of the city, especially the old buildings,” she remarks.

Since 2017, As-Salt has received support from USAID BEST and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) for comprehensive tourism development that is being implemented by the Salt Development Corporation (SDC). This includes a USAID-funded Enterprise Development Program to introduce new and development existing small and medium tourism enterprises and assisting marketing efforts to transform the city into an attractive tourism destination. Through this program and direct support to local businesses, USAID BEST has helped enhance and introduce more than 20 experiences, ranging from pottery making, to enjoying a home-cooked meal, to walking through the city on a guided tour. In addition, USAID BEST developed and released an As-Salt tourist map including main points of interest and trails in September 2019. Additional trail and destination brochures will be released in March 2020.

“This effort to promote tourism to As-Salt should have started a long time ago. Locals here are very friendly and welcoming people. As-Salt deserves to be a tourism destination,” Siwar adds.

In the coming months and years, tour guides, business owners, and experience providers in As-Salt will carry forth efforts supported by USAID BEST to enhance tourism offerings in the city.

Accompanied by a local guide, or self-guided, the walking trails are among As-Salt’s most popular experiences. Enjoy traditional sweets, listen to stories told by locals, and learn about the history of the city. For more information or to book a tour, contact the Salt Development Corporation.