- Community Empowerment
Monday, February 16, 2004
Ajloun development plans
Queen Rania urges officials to expedite Ajloun development plans
(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) While Ajloun was snowed in after the blizzard that affected the Kingdom, Her Majesty Queen Rania called in at the Ministry of Tourism and Environment to discuss its future development plans.
Queen Rania was briefed by officials on the Urban Regeneration and Tourism Development Master Plan for Ajloun Governorate which seeks to make use of the landscape and agricultural resources of the area, capitalizing on its touristic, agricultural and environmental potential to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
Describing Ajloun as an area which has unique qualities, Her Majesty stressed that the vision behind giving the area a special character required the concerted efforts of all parties involved, while making residents involved in the effort to be able to claim ownership of results in the future.
“We should move away from the traditional approach. The area has some spectacular qualities that give it a different flavor. But what it lacks is character. We need to enhance the fine qualities that define this area and project it locally as well as abroad,” said Queen Rania.
Stressing the importance of promoting awareness of sustainable environmental practices, Queen Rania urged officials to expedite plans for zoning and branding the area, adding that “all stakeholders should be partners in the planning phase, so that all are accountable and own projects in the implementation phase and thereafter.”
“Facilitating means to attract potential investors would be boosted especially if the area has a certain niche,” Queen Rania said, adding that Ajloun can be the environmental capital of the Kingdom, providing specialty tourism, products and services, citing examples of creating health spas, organically grown produce, and even making it the regional destination for conferences on environment and eco-tourism.
Underlining that investments in enhancing Ajloun's tourism potential should be channelled toward making it appealing year-round, to the benefit of the local community, Queen Rania said the comprehensive approach to the development of the governorate should include all sectors -- tourism, agriculture, education and environment.
Minster of Tourism and Environment Dr. Alia Hatouq-Bouran briefed Queen Rania on the Ajloun Urban Regeneration and Tourism Development plan which is expected to be completed by year-end covering tourism-related investment opportunities, heritage conservation, urban improvement, protected zones and extending the zoning to protect the areas forestry.
The Ajloun Urban Regeneration and Tourism Development Master Plan, supported by the Ministry of Planning, the European Union and the World Bank, encompasses a broad strategy involving experts ranging from conservationists and architects, to socio-economists working in partnership with municipalities to ensure that investment and development projects are not unplanned, uncoordinated and uncontrolled.
Land use regulations, which include environmental protection measures, would ensure controlled urban development up to 2015. Similar plans were undertaken in Petra and Karak.
Bouran noted that while input from the tourism sector into the Kingdom’s GDP had dro