Baraka developed and implementing the first in the region specialized and internationally certified bird-watching guide training program. Designed to develop the birdwatching subniche of Ecotourism in Jordan devised a plan to bring back birdwatching to Jordan as a source of income for tour operators, specialized guides, but most importantly as a conservation tool creating economic value to the preservation of the birds of Jordan.
Baraka received a grant from USAID Jordan Tourism Development Program and fostered partnerships with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and BirdLife International (BLI) to develop this specialized guide training program and obtained international certification from BLI and local certification from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Product: Baraka consulted with the RSCN and the Dead Sea Development Company to establish adventure and ecotourism products within the zoning plans of the Dead Sea area. Baraka designed tourism concepts that can generate revenue to finance conservation efforts.
Client EcoHotelsFounded in 2009, EcoHotels is a privately owned company that provides escapes embedded in beautiful natural areas, with a rich local culture, and offering unique memorable experiences. Since its inception the company has taken the responsibility of providing residents and visitors to the Jordan with environmentally and socially responsible retreats.
Baraka has worked closely with Feynan Ecolodge in its community engagement, empowerment and development efforts. We established a voluntourism product and have received volunteers from Jordan, USA, UK, and Australia that have lived in Feynan, teaching English to adults and children at the lodge and school, teaching girls and their mothers that are not in school in their tents, and monitoring energy consumption to devise plans to minimize the environmental footprint at the lodge. Baraka also designed a community based tourism product called the “Bedouin Experience” where guests spend a day engaging in local life with activities including goat herding, cooking, tent weaving, traditional eyeliner making, and traditional coffee making. Through this activity, the dying tradition of tent weaving is being passed on to the next generation and new jobs were created for 10 additional families.
Baraka was tasked with redesigning Feynan Ecolodge’s website and designing information panels for the reception area at the lodge. Baraka established partnerships with the British Institute, the German-Jordanian University, and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature to produce and present a deep insight into the nature, culture, history, and products of the lodge and Dana Biosphere Reserve. Baraka compiled all the information to create the ‘story of Feynan’ which had multiple layers including fact, folktale, science, and opinions of locals. The unique approach used to creating a platform for the local community to tell their stories was celebrated and acknowledged by the International Ecotourism Society and Baraka was asked to present this approach in two lectures at the International Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference held in Kenya in 2013. Baraka was also invited to present its innovative approach to cultural preservation through tourism marketing at the University of Florida Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute at the University of Florida in 2014.
Baraka is currently working with the RSCN on the EU funded Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) to develop an integrated strategy in order to settle an ecotourism development model for the Mediterranean area that boosts a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows, starting from the “European Charter for Sustainable Tourism” approach, through the establishment of a network amongst supply-side stakeholders (Natural Parks). Baraka is creating new products in Ajloun Nature Reserve, Dana and Mujib Biosphere Reserves to deepen the experiences tourists could have in these sites and extend the length of stay to three nights at each reserve. Baraka has been working in collaboration with 20 natural parks across 9 countries in the Mediterranean region to implement this project. Baraka also conducted a training program to partner countries and park managers of the MEET project on the participatory approach to ecotourism planning.