AMMAN — The Strategic Plan for the Petra Region in Jordan, one the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, will receive the 2012 American Planning Association’s Pierre L'Enfant International Planning Award.

According to a statement from the USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project (Siyaha), which supported the development of the plan, the prize recognises planning practices and efforts undertaken outside the United States to promote communities of lasting value, and is being awarded to the Petra strategic plan in recognition of its balancing the need for the preservation of important archaeological resources with the need for increased tourism and economic growth.

“This plan is a critical guide to the preservation of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World,” Marie L. York, FAICP, APA board director and 2012 awards jury co-chair, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“It will serve as a valuable model for regions facing the competing challenges of attracting tourism and protecting cultural resources.”

In light of the competing challenges of promoting tourism and protecting the historical site, the government established the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority (PDTRA) to oversee the region, including the Petra Archaeological Park.

A multidisciplinary, international team of planners, landscape architects, tourism planners and local experts was retained by the PDTRA to prepare the Strategic Master Plan for the Petra Region, providing a guide to preserve its archaeological, ecological and cultural resources while planning for the needs of a fast-growing population, the USAID/Siyaha statement noted.

More than 400 local leaders, experts, women and youth groups provided "valuable input" to the team, it added.

“The master plan, which is to be implemented over the next two decades, will guide development of the Petra region in terms of attracting investment, developing infrastructure, diversifying and enhancing tourism services and facilities in a way that ensures sustainability through a balance between tourism activity, archaeological and environmental conservation and involvement of the local community,” PDTRA’s Commissioner for Local Community Development and Environment Mohammad Farajat said in the statement.

The award will be presented during APA’s National Planning Conference in Los Angeles in April. The Petra region plan also will be featured in an upcoming issue of Planning magazine, APA’s flagship publication.