Jordan is certainly having a moment: an increasing number of travellers are adding the Middle Eastern country to their agendas for 2019 with the UNESCO city of Petra, desert of Wadi Rum, beaches of the Dead Sea and fascinating history proving an irresistible lure.
The boom in popularity for Jordan as a travel destination will economically impact local communities as a result, but it is important to enable communities to experience the
true benefit of travel and tourism through sustainable economic empowerment.
In order to support the local communities affected by tourism in a positive and sustainable way, the TreadRight Foundation, a joint not-for-profit venture from the Travel Corporation’s family of brands, has recently added the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative as its new People project in Jordan.
For those exploring Jordan with Contiki, Insight Vacations or Trafalgar, a visit to the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative is included so that every guest can meet local women, hear their stories and learn about the work the Cooperative is doing to support the community.
Travellers will be able to contribute to the ongoing success of the initiative by purchasing items handcrafted by the women and see first-hand how travel matters.
“The TreadRight Foundation is supporting the Iraq al-Amir Cooperative and together we’ll be working with this cooperative to upgrade the gift shop, as well as provide merchandising expertise, and allow the group to expand their food services, creating more income opportunities for the Cooperative’s members,” explained Jordanian sustainable tourism consultant Muna Haddad.
“We’re working together to help the Cooperative to become a viable business.”
Unemployment for women in Jordan is at around 33 per cent in urban areas and even higher in rural areas.
The cooperative was founded in 1993 with the goal of making the women in the region financially independent in addition to raising their standard of living and preserving local heritage.
Managed and run by local women, Iraq al-Amir has provided training projects on a variety of heritage handicrafts for women from all villages of the Wadi Seer district.
The products are then sold in the gift shop, as well as online.
“As an organisation and with the support of the TTC family of brands, we are working to make travel matter.
“The Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative is a perfect example of the kind of initiative that can harness the power of travel and tourism and use it to make real, sustainable, positive changes in people’s lives,” said Shannon Guihan, program director, TreadRight Foundation.
“It was a privilege to be so warmly welcomed at the cooperative and to hear the women’s incredible and powerful stories of lives transformed for the better through Iraq al Amir; now TTC has the honour of introducing our audiences to the stories of these remarkable women through our new video, and by taking guests to visit the Cooperative in Jordan.”