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News from Jordan. Dec 2010

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Feynan Ecolodge Winner in Travel + Leisure‘s 2010 Global Vision Awards


AMMAN, Jordan


Feynan Ecolodge, located in Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan was awarded as winner of Sustainable Design in


Travel + Leisures sixth annual Global Vision Awards. 

AMMAN, Jordan – Feynan Ecolodge, located in Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan was awarded as winner of Sustainable Design in Travel + Leisures sixth annual Global Vision Awards.  



The monthly publication, with the largest readership of any travel magazine, awards organizations and companies that are making a difference in the traveler’s world.The 2010 Global Vision Awards detail why each organization is worthy of the award and offer “Take the Trip” information allowing travelers to experience first-hand the local cultures that have benefitted from their collective efforts. The awards are featured now on  and in the November issue of Travel + Leisure.

Feynan Ecolodge was designed by renowned Jordanian architect Ammar Khammash and funding for construction was supported by USAID.  The lodge, owned by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) and operated by EcoHotels in a unique private-sector NGO partnership, was selected for its commitment to sustainable design, evident throughout the lodge’s build and operation. The lodge is 100% solar powered utilizing solar-photovoltaic (PV) cells to generate electricity and solar panels to heat water. By night, it is illuminated by handmade candles. In the winter months, Feynan burns jift in its fireplaces for heat, a natural byproduct of the Kingdom’s annual olive pressing that saves Jordan’s precious trees. Most waste is recycled and clay jars created by a local community have eliminated the need for plastic disposable water bottles in guest rooms. The lodge also has strict water controls to conserve this precious resource sourced from nearby springs in Wadi Dana including aerators on faucets and showers.

 Feynan has also been awarded several other prestigious awards for its efforts including National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Top 50 Ecolodges in the World, The Guardian’s 2010 Green Travel List and 5 Green Stars from Eco Hotels of the World. Feynan was also included in the recently published book Authentic Ecolodges that features 40 of the world’s top ecolodges. EcoHotels’s Managing Director Nabil Tarazi said that, “EcoHotels is proud of this latest achievement that comes on the heels of our partner, the RSCN, being awarded the 2010 Guardian and Observer Ethical Travel Award. Such awards reinforce the importance of the work we are doing in promoting Jordan as a world class ecotourism destination. Our success helps us to conserve nature while simultaneously providing greater opportunities for the local communities that inhabit the areas we operate in.”

About EcoHotels:

 EcoHotels was founded to provide escapes embedded in local culture, filled with new experiences, and delivered with a passion for impeccable service. Residents and visitors to Jordan can rely on EcoHotels to develop environmentally-sustainable retreats that give back to local communities and invest in pivotal conservation projects.

 About Feynan Ecolodge:
Hailed as one of the top 50 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Feynan provides an adventurous, enchanting escape into the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The solar powered lodge is lit exclusively by candles and stars by night, with 26 en-suite rooms boasting unique arabesque designs. Feynan features regional vegetarian dishes made from local ingredients.  Guests can be found hiking or biking across diverse landscapes, encountering Bedouin, and exploring archeological sites including some of the world’s oldest copper mines.

About RSCN:

The RSCN is a Jordanian NGO, established in 1966 and devoted to the conservation of biodiversity. The Society has official delegation, through the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, to establish and manage protected areas and to enforce hunting regulations.  In addition to this statutory mandate, RSCN is very active in environmental education and research and has become world-renowned for its innovative eco-tourism and socio-economic programmes. It has been developing eco-tourism as a conservation tool for over ten years and is now a major player in the Kingdom’s tourism industry.





Jordan’s Tourism on the Rise with More Record Numbers

Jordan’s tourism sector is celebrating more record numbers as vital statistics showed remarkable increases in visitor numbers and spending by the end of the 3rd quarter.


Central Bank and Ministry of Tourism statistics have shown that the number overnight tourists who have visited Jordan between January and September have reached 3.56 million people, a 23.4% increase over the same period in 2009. Tourism receipts for the same period reached 1.88 billion Jordanian Dinars ($2.65 billion), a rise of more than 20% over 2009.

Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Managing Director Nayef al-Fayez described the released figures as yet another landmark in Jordanian tourism. He said the numbers have – by far – outperformed 2008, which was the best tourism year ever in Jordan.

Mr. al-Fayez paid tribute Jordan’s unique offerings as a diverse tourist destination, and said that it was the main driver behind the Kingdom’s success in avoiding the negative impact of the global economic crisis in 2009.

He said JTB saw two main threats to tourism growth: declining traveler numbers and spending as a result of the global economic crisis, and the unexpected cut in the Board’s budget. “However,” Mr. al-Fayez added, “it was a challenge that we had to face with a great deal of planning and operational flexibility, and with tremendous support from the Jordan’s solid reputation as a unique tourist destination.”

The JTB Managing Director also paid tribute to Jordan’s tourism sector, whose strength he said was a main driver behind overcoming the global downturn. “Today, we are thrilled to see this pay off with more success and more growth,” he concluded.

The released 3rd quarter figures have shown an across-the-board visitor number increase from all regions and countries. Asia took the lion’s share in terms of percentage rise with South Asia going up 39.8% and East Asia & the Pacific going up 25.4%. However, Arab countries brought in the most visitor numbers totaling 1.7 million.

The rise in European tourists was also impressive, with a total of more than 532 thousand. French tourists came first with almost 61,000 people (a rise of 67.5% over 2009), British tourists were second with 52,000 (24.5%), Italian tourists were third with 43,320 (36.6%), German tourists were fourth with 36,850 (26.2%), and Spanish tourists were fifth with 33,300 (59.7%).

Overnight visitors from the USA totaled 125,424 people representing more than a 5% increase over the 3rd quarter of 2009, while Canadians totaled more than 16,000 people, a rise of almost 19%.

World Wonder Petra remained the jewel in the crown of Jordan’s touristic sites attracting more than 670,000 visitors in the first 9 months of 2010, a rise of 30%. Wadi Rum saw the largest growth in numbers with a jump of 63.6% to more than 189,300 people.

The Jordan Tourism Board had earlier said it was exploring new markets including China, Japan and Brazil to build on the successes of the past few years. It said it was working to minimize -if not end- the seasonal patterns of tourist arrivals and establish Jordan as an all-year round destination.







Queen Rania: Third Most Influential Leader in Social Media

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- Amman) – Her Majesty Queen Rania came in third, following President Obama and 10 Downing Street in the list report by the Digital Policy Council, according to which, 1 out of 5 heads of state are currently on Twitter and engaging in social networking on the internet.

 In a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC), Her Majesty spoke about the importance of staying connected saying: “online there are no barriers, people are just very natural, they say what is on their mind and it enables this natural and honest flow of communication to take place which is so important for me”

In that spirit, Her Majesty launched “Twisit” earlier this year. In cooperation with Twitvid, a twitter video application site, Twisit. A “tourist swap” with a twist. Chosen by the public, the lucky winner from Jordan will be travelling to Seattle USA, while the American winner enjoyed an all paid vacation in Jordan last week.

Her Majesty has more than 1.3 million followers on the social networking site, Twitter and over three hundred thousand fans on Her facebook page, as well as very successful Youtube channel, where Her Majesty had worked to promote issues such as breaking stereotypes and cross cultural dialogue.

The Digital Policy Council report addresses a strong movement towards open government as more world leaders are using social media as a type of direct communication with their citizens and the global community. The Digital Policy Council is an international, non-partisan think tank that investigates the impact new media technologies have on advancing good governance and reshaping political discourse.







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