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Hikers from around the world prepare for 44-day trek across Jordan

By JT - Mar 04,2020 - Last updated at Mar 04,2020

Barbara Joziasse, ambassador of the Netherlands to Jordan, speaks during a ceremony held by the Jordan Trail Association to launch the 4th Annual Thru-Hike on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Jordan Trail Association)

AMMAN — The Jordan Trail Association (JTA) on Wednesday held a ceremony to launch the 4th Annual Thru-Hike, attended by Tourism Minister Majd Shweikeh. 

A group of hikers from various countries will take on the challenge, crossing 681 kilometres from Umm Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south over 44 days, beginning on Friday, according to a statement from the JTA. 

This year, for the first time, hikers will each receive a “passport” to serve as a guide, providing valuable information on distances, difficulties and iconic landmarks. 

The passport also provides a means of documenting memories and a source of protection, enclosing all relevant contacts in case of emergencies. 

Barbara Joziasse, ambassador of the Netherlands to Jordan, thanked all supporters and participants.

 “The Jordan Trail traverses regions otherwise overlooked, providing host communities with a crucial economic opportunity and hikers with an authentic Jordanian experience,” Joziasse was quoted in the statement as saying.

The ambassador also expressed her pride in the impact of the Netherlands' Shiraka project, implemented by Leaders International in partnership with the JTA, which aims to improve livelihoods for households and communities along the southern part of the trail, the statement noted. 

Executive Director at the JTA Bashir Daoud said in the statement: “The latest travel trends reveal shifting patterns towards unique, unconventional experiences, beyond mundane tourist attractions. The Jordan Trail allows tourists to explore Jordan’s natural wonders and immerse themselves in our culture in the best possible way — on foot.”

EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou, also in attendance, emphasised that supporting sustainable tourism in Jordan should translate into "responsible growth", taking into account all the needs of the local community and providing the necessary protection for the environment, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

USAID Deputy Mission Director Ralph Koehring said that the agency's support for the JTA is based on the trail's role as a means of economic development for local communities through the tourism sector, in addition to being an important tourism product for Jordan, Petra added.

The Jordan Trail is open to all and available to tread year-round. Hikers can choose to embark on smaller parts of the trail, either by themselves or by joining the group anytime between March 6 and April 18, the JTA statement added.

The annual Thru-Hike ceremony is a means of raising awareness and support for the trail, which passes through remote areas and engages local communities who live there. 

From lush green rolling hills in the north to rose-coloured sand dunes and rock formations in the south, the Jordan Trail offers "a colourful experience dotted with breathtaking sceneries and ancient cultural, historical and religious sites", the statement said.

 

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