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Jordan Trail launches 2nd Annual Thru-Hike in Umm Qais

By JT - Mar 02,2018 - Last updated at Mar 02,2018

AMMAN — Under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania, the Jordan Trail Association (JTA) on Thursday officially launched the Jordan Trail’s 2018 Thru-Hike, kicking off the second edition of the annual event at the Umm Qais Visitor Centre in northern Jordan. 

A group of 10 adventurers of different nationalities will embark on the Thru-Hike on Friday, crossing the 650 kilometres between Umm Qais and Aqaba in 44 days. During shorter trips organised by the JTA between March 1 and April 15, other hikers will cover specific routes on the Trail, participating in one-day and weekend hikes or longer regional hikes lasting between three and seven days, a JTA statement said.

The Jordan Trail traverses the length of Jordan, providing hikers with the opportunity to experience the country’s diverse natural landscapes, as well as its most notable historic and touristic landmarks, according to the statement.

Organised by the JTA, the annual Thru-Hike event aims to promote the Jordan Trail and raise funds for its sustainable development. Passing through 52 villages and communities, the trail offers support to people living in remote areas while also providing hikers with chances to interact with host communities along the way.

The 2018 Thru-Hike was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and with the support of the Jordan Tourism Board and the USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Lina Annab thanked all the volunteers and other stakeholders who made the Thru-Hike possible, saying that “the Jordan Trail has come a long way, from a nascent idea just a few years ago to a globally acclaimed trail. It is wonderful to celebrate the second annual Thru-Hike, which promises to become one of the most anticipated events of the year”.

In turn, JTA's newly appointed chairman, Ramzi Tabbalat said: “We are living in one of the best times for Jordanian tourism, after the Jordan Trail was chosen by National Geographic and other renowned outlets as one of the world’s top destinations for 2018. We are positive that this will increase traffic on the trail, which will reflect on more direct economic support and opportunities for local communities across Jordan as a whole.” 

Nancy Eslick, acting USAID mission director, also congratulated the JTA on this year's opening. “The tourism industry is one of the top five contributors to Jordan's GDP and generates hundreds of thousands of jobs. The United States is proud to partner with the government of Jordan to ensure the protection of national historical and environmental treasures, and transform Jordan into a globally competitive tourism destination, boosting the country's GDP, creating jobs, and engaging women and youth in Jordan's economic development," Eslick said.

For his part, Bashir Daoud, JTA's general manager, said that “the Trail is an effective platform that supports local communities economically and provides them with expertise and skills that qualify them to gain sustainable job opportunities. Such opportunities will contribute to improving local communities’ livelihoods, and support the national economy holistically”. 

The full Thru-Hike is open to all, with participants able to join at any point between March 1 and April 15, 2018. The Jordan Trail website contains all detailed information for groups or individuals interested in hiking the Trail, including maps and GPS coordinates, according to the statement.

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