Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

The Jordan Ranger Camp offers a different Jerash experience

24 Jun 2019

The Jordan Ranger Camp is a rural retreat nestled in the forests of Jerash that caters for corporate team building activities, schools and domestic tourist retreats as well as individual travelers. Owned by Tha’er Ayash, a veteran teambuilding and outdoors activities trainer, the resort was established with support from USAID BEST as part of efforts to develop attractions and services in Jerash and the north of Jordan.

“I launched an adventure camp in 2014, situated on the same property as the resort,” said Ayash, who is a resident of Jerash. He added, “As a day-trip venue it was and has been successful so far, but I always knew I would expand the site to offer new services.”

In 2016 USAID BEST began its support to Tha’er to expand his adventure day camp into a resort that offered overnight and meetings facilities to attract new market segments. Tha’er built 10 cabins, dining halls, a restaurant and two meeting halls, and USAID BEST helped to equip them for visitors as well as supporting staff capacity building and marketing activities.

“People in Jordan, or the average Jordanian family, do not sleep in tents. It is not a part of the culture to do so. So, when I developed these cabins with USAID support, which can reach 4-stars in terms of quality, people started accepting this idea. So, we solved the issue of sleeping. Also, when we had corporate clients, they would stay for a day and then leave. Now they stay for two days instead of going back to Amman and returning.”

Before the development of the Jordan Ranger Camp, Tha’er employed one full time employee as a camp guard and made significant use of part-time or seasonal workers. Now, in 2019, he has 11 full-time employees and is looking to grow that number beyond 15 in 2020, as well as continuing to call on seasonal workers as necessary. Eco View’s workers are all local to Jerash and deepen the resort’s roots in the region. 

“We’ve looking to involve people from the rural communities around Jerash in a way that we didn’t when I only had the adventure camp. While we currently have activities like zip-lining, high swings and others that are firmly in the realm of adventure experiences, we’re looking to introduce others like food preparations, home visits and sheepherding that help put a face to Jerash for visitors, while encouraging residents of Jerash to experience tourism as a business,” said Tha’er.

As of December 2018, Jerash was the second-most visited tourism attraction in Jordan, though only a few hundred residents in the city are involved in the industry. Most itineraries include Jerash in a one-day schedule that also includes two to three other sites, as the city is only 50km from many of the Kingdom’s largest cities.