The Wadi Rum Protected Area was set-up, not just to conserve landscapes and wildlife, but also to give local communities new opportunities to benefit from the protection of nature. This is being done in three main ways:
Entrance fees are shared with local communities. A proportion of each visitor’s entrance charge is given directly to local tourism cooperatives.
Appropriate tourism development is being supported throughout the protected area, tied to protection measures that try to minimize the harmful effects of visitor pressure.
Small craft and souvenir businesses are being developed with Bedouin women to generate more economic benefits from the protected area.
Shopping for nature
Many of the ancient inscriptions carved on the rocks of Wadi Rum have been given a new lease of life as decorations for locally produced crafts. They are being applied as artwork on a variety of natural and waste materials, including recycled drink cans. Bedouin women create the artwork using modern techniques of sandblasting and burnishing. These unique items make highly original and attractive gifts and help to provide jobs and extra income for underprivileged families.
A full range of Rum artwork is available from the nature shop in the visitor centre or through other outlets in Jordan managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), which specializes in hand crafted gift items that support rural communities. For more information, log on to www.rscn.org.jo