Umm Qais, a village in northern Jordan, has been named among the ‘Best Tourism Villages 2022’ by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as a recognition of its commitment to innovation and sustainability.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Fayez, on Wednesday said that putting the village of Umm Qais on the list is a push factor for tourism in Jordan, and will contribute to empowering local communities, and increasing job opportunities.
"This achievement comes within the ministry's vision, and in compliance with its tourism development plan through the Jordan National Tourism Strategy 2021-2025, which places the tourism sector at the heart of Jordan's economy and society," he added.
To celebrate the achievement, festivals, art exhibitions, forums, and showcases of industries and handicrafts, will be held in the village.
Umm Qais and 135 villages were put forward for consideration by UNWTO Member States based on a set of criteria covering cultural and natural resources, promotion and conservation of cultural resources, economic sustainability, social sustainability, environmental sustainability, tourism development, governance and prioritization of tourism, infrastructure and connectivity, and health, safety, and security.
The Best Tourism Villages initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Program. It aims to ensure tourism contributes to reducing regional inequalities in income and development, fighting depopulation, progressing gender equality and women’s and youth empowerment, and advancing innovation and digitalization.
It also focuses on improving connectivity, infrastructure, access to finance and investment, innovating in product development and value chain integration, promoting sustainable practices for more efficient use of resources and a reduction of emissions and waste, and enhancing education and skills.
The village of Umm Qais lays in the north western corner of Jordan, on the hills above the Jordan Valley. It was previously known as the Decapolis city of Gadara, and is famous for its impressive colonnaded streets, vaulted terrace, and the ruins of two theatres.