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The Resilience Through Tourism Summit (RTTS), an international conference that took place in Amman on Tuesday and Wednesday, has announced the winners of the world’s first International Peace Through Tourism Awards which have been launched to highlight global tourism’s contribution to peace and prosperity.
The new awards act as a benchmark to celebrate how far countries and communities have come since the Amman Declaration on Peace Through Tourism passed in 2000 at the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism's (IIPT) previous global summit, a statement from the RTTS organisers said on Thursday.
Jordan's hosting of the summit has given the Middle East a unique opportunity to showcase the considerable progress of peace through tourism in the region, according to the statement.
A total of 28 nominations came from local businesses, destinations and NGOs.
Petra National Trust and the Jordan River Foundation received the Peace Through Community Livelihood Enhancement Award.
Petra National Trust is an NGO that works in the conservation and sustainable management of national cultural heritage, with a focus on Petra UNESCO World Heritage Site.
"It has successfully coordinated preservation projects and studies on such issues as the Nabataean hydrological systems, biodiversity, the geophysical stability of the Siq, and the unique Nabataean wall painting at Beidha," the statement said.
The Jordan River Foundation was established in 1995 by Her Majesty Queen Rania with the overall aim of empowering communities and promoting child safety.
Starting with the Bani Hamida Weaving Project, which is now part of the Jordan River Designs Handicrafts Programme (JRD), a socioeconomic programme for women to provide employment opportunities that enhance their livelihoods, while developing their knowledge and skills in handicraft production and entrepreneurship.
The Peace Through Cultural Diversity Award went to the Jordan Trail Association, recently chosen by National Geographic Traveller as one of the world’s best tourism destinations.
The association has introduced the 52 villages it passes through to the benefits of tourism, and tourism provided much needed revenue and employment to local residents. This year it resulted in direct spending of JD70,000 on local community engagement.
The Ecohotels (Feynan Ecolodge) of Dana Reserve received the Peace Through Respect of Sustainable Development and Ecological Balance Award.
"Operated with minimal impact on the environment, Feynan Ecolodge offers guests unique and authentic experiences while contributing to the conservation of Dana Reserve and helping the impoverished local community through employment and micro business development," RTTS said.
All the staff at the Ecohotels are from the local community with 50 per cent of revenue benefitting the local residents and all electricity used by the Ecolodge generated by photovoltaic panels.
Taleb Rifai, chairman of the IIPT advisory board and former secretary general of the UN World Tourism Organisation commented: “We received amazing nominations from such a truly diverse range of institutions across Jordan and beyond. Every single entry demonstrated an exemplary commitment to achieving peace through tourism and the judges had a very difficult job determining the winners.”
The awards were hosted by Jordan Tourism Board and supported by Abdali group, Cachet Consulting, The Travel Corporation and Robin Tauck.
The Resilience Through Tourism Summit brings together key stakeholders from the private and public sectors to discuss strategies for recovery and developing resilience, brand management for sustainable growth and effective communications, according to RTTS website.