Specialists prepped for international certificate on sustainable tourism

Participants in a workshop on archaeological site management planning for sustainable tourism apply the skills they gained in a field visit to the ancient Roman city of Jerash on Thursday (Photo courtesy of ATHENA project)

AMMAN/JERASH — Aiming to protect and promote Jordan’s heritage sites, specialists from the tourism ministry and the Department of Antiquities (DoA) are preparing to apply for an international certificate on sustainable tourism early next year.

Around 40 employees from the ministry and the department attended a training workshop last week on preparing archaeological site management plans for sustainable tourism to help them apply for the Project Management for European Sustainable Development (PM4ESD) certification.

“Jordanians will be the first to be qualified through this test next year,” trainer Silvia Barbone, managing director of the Brussels-based international consultancy firm Jlag, told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the workshop.

PM4ESD is a new qualification for the tourism sector that seeks to equip professionals with “the skills and tools necessary for effective project management”, according to its official website.

A second workshop is slated for January 6-10, 2013, ahead of the internationally accredited exam. The DoA, through the Ancient Theatres Enhancement for New Actualities (ATHENA) project, is organising the training.

“There’s a lot of confusion on how management [of archaeological sites] works; it’s important to set standards for it… otherwise, there will be no sustainability and no transfer of expertise,” Barbone added.

Nizar Al Adarbeh, ATHENA project manager, said the training will also enhance coordination among the various stakeholders involved in heritage sites.

“We don’t have joint plans for the Ministry of Tourism and the DoA on managing archaeological sites. This method will help us set up a framework of roles in preserving archaeological sites and utilising them for tourism,” Adarbeh noted.

“We cannot think of an archaeological site on its own, we need to consider the destination and the role of stakeholders and their involvement… During our discussions, we found that stakeholders work very separately in Jordan,” Barbone said, adding that management plans should involve local communities, NGOs and the public and private sectors.

Within the ATHENA project, which is funded by the European Commission’s Euro-Med Heritage IV Programme, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Spain and Italy are working on documenting and studying six of their ancient theatres to ensure that they continue to play a vital cultural role in the future.

Adarbeh said the PM4ESD method will help the initiative’s Jordan team draw up a management plan for Jerash’s south theatre, which is included in the ATHENA project, with the PM4SD training’s second session focusing more extensively on sustainable tourism for theatres.

“This helps sustain the ATHENA project as it nears conclusion [in February 2013],” Barbone said.

In the first workshop, participants drew up management plans for seven archaeological sites in Jordan. They visited the ancient Roman city of Jerash on the last day to apply the criteria for a good management plan for the site.

“We need a policy for sustainable tourism to provide guidelines for everyone in the sector when preparing plans,” participant Amjad Batayneh, director of the Bani Kinanah archaeology directorate, told The Jordan Times.

“This will also help us in rearranging our priorities when it comes to preserving and developing a site,” he noted, adding that training for the PM4ESD helps sector workers obtain more knowledge on international standards for managing sites.

Hussein Khirfan, director of site management at the Ministry of Tourism, agreed with Batayneh on the benefits of the training.

“Through this we can seek to better align our methods and services with international tourism services,” he said.

Source / Fuente: jordantimes.com

Author / Autor: jordantimes.com

Date / Fecha: 26/11/12

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