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11 eco-tourism natural reserves open doors to tourists

By Hana Namrouqa - Apr 10,2018 - Last updated at Apr 10,2018

The Yarmouk Forest Reserve is one of the 11 nature reserves open for tourists this new season (Photo courtesy of RSCN)

AMMAN — Eco-tourism in Jordan’s 11 nature reserves opened for a new adventure season, with the numbers of visitors expected to increase this year, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).

With new services, hiking trails and picnicking areas introduced to its nature reserves over the past year, the RSCN said they expect the number of tourists seeking outdoor activities at its sites to further increase in 2018.

RSCN Director General Yehya Khaled said that RSCN-run eco-tourism sites close down during winter for safety purposes but are now all open to adventure-seekers.

The Mujib Biosphere Reserve and the Rummana Campsite in Dana Biosphere Reserve, both of which close during winter, are now open while a new picnicking site in Dibbeen Forest Reserve and new guest rooms in Dana Guesthouse were launched in the middle of the tourist season last year.

“Last year, the society’s sites and nature reserves witnessed the highest number of visitors ever in the history of the RSCN,” Khaled told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

The RSCN is in the process of preparing its annual report released in May, which provides data on the number of visitors to its sites and reserves and the profits generated to the benefit of local communities, among other information.

The society’s 2016 annual report indicated that its eight nature reserves and one special conservation area received 141,847 visitors.

“It is true that eco-tourism was affected by the regional political instability over the past years, but recently, the number of local and foreign visitors to our sites is picking up,” Khaled highlighted.

He attributed the increase in the number of visitors to the fact that the RSCN increased the number of guestrooms, eco-lodges and chalets while expanding its tourist services at the nature reserves, which stretch all across the Kingdom.

The RSCN was established in 1966 as an independent non-profit organisation and mandated in 1973 by the government to regulate hunting and protect the Kingdom’s wildlife.

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