Brother and sister team passionate about alternative tourism

3 Alternative tourism
(Photo: Handout from Anas Amarneh)
AMMAN — When Anas Amarneh, a college student, started his “community tourism project,” travelling the roads less travelled, his choice was first to visit the barber shop, where young people customarily gather and just talk. “It’s a good starting point to know about the community and make friends,” said Amarneh, who studies tourism management at the University of Jordan.  اضافة اعلان

His sister is his partner, sharing his passion for travel, as well as his knowledge of people and his major. They called the project: “In the eyes of the locals”. The brother and sister team also lead tours of alternative sites all over the kingdom and plan a map of “alternative tourism sites” to supplement Jordan’s tourism map.

They roam the kingdom from one place to another, focusing on the less known local communities, and they share their experiences online so that tourists can have an insight into the country and the many choices to pick from. Tourists are themselves a source of knowledge and learning, according to Amarneh.
He said the project has had a very positive impact on them, that they have matured, all the while in constant pursuit of new experiences, new stories and memories.

The ambition is to draw up a map for alternative and sustainable tourism in the country to go hand in hand with the traditional tourism map of the kingdom, which also features diverse and unique experiences for the country’s visitors. 
The supplementary map, Amarneh said, is likely to increase tourists’ stay in Jordan and strengthen their bond with the place and the people, so much so that a return visit would be on their wish list.

Even cosmopolitan Amman has things to offer, according to the entrepreneur, like the “alternative” walk in the old downtown, which has been posted on Airbnb and has had considerable viewers.

There is also the alternative tour of Jerash, which starts with a visit to the ruins of the Greco-Roman Decapolis, but also includes a chat with friends in the Jerash Palestinian refugee camp, and concludes with a meal in the depths of Dibbin forest in Jerash governorate.

The alternative tour groups led by the Amarneh siblings also visit Um Qais in the northern corner of the Kingdom. In addition to visiting the archaeological remains of the ancient Decapolis of Gadara. They hike towards the village of Mukhaibeh El-Fouqa, which oversees Yarmouk River and the Golan Heights in Syria.

Petra, Jordan’s signature destination, has a special program, Amarneh said, explaining that an astronomer joins the team to add value to the experience before they move on to the nearby village of Beidha for social interaction with the people living in the area.

Amarneh and his team know that their enterprise is successful from the impressions the experience leaves on tourist. “We frequently hear from them, they tell us ‘We feel we have known you guys for so long.’”

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