ALULA: Jordan’s northern town of Umm Qais was honored at the UN World Tourism Organization’s Best Tourism Villages awards ceremony in AlUla on Sunday.
The BTV initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO’s Tourism for Rural Development Program, which aims at reducing regional income and development disparities, and combating depopulation, as well as advancing gender equality, innovation, digitalization, and women’s and youth empowerment through tourism.
The 135 locations recognized by the awards — which included AlUla Old Town — were announced in December as part of the BTV initiative, which recognizes villages that are “an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination, with accredited cultural and natural assets, that preserve and promote rural and community-based values, products, and lifestyle, and have a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects — economic, social, and environmental.”
The event was attended by leaders from the tourism sector and ministers from nominated countries, the Jordan News Agency reported.
Imad Hijazin, secretary-general of Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said: “Putting the village of Umm Qais on the list will bolster the kingdom’s status on the global tourism map.
“This achievement comes within the ministry’s vision, and is in compliance with its tourism development plan through the Jordan National Tourism Strategy 2021-2025.”
Hijazin added that the location’s recognition would contribute to empowering local communities, and increasing job opportunities.