Queen Rania witnesses developments in Rasoun and launches Tourism Initiative path

June 17, 2009

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, on Tuesday, visited the village of Rasoun in the Ajloun Governorate to launch the Tourism Paths initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) and to inspect community empowerment projects implemented by the Jordan River Foundation (JRF).

Following Her Majesty’s first visit to Rasoun in 2007, which called for the development of a concrete action plan to improve the quality of life in the area, Queen Rania toured the village and witnessed firsthand the successful implementation of a number of development initiatives established by JRF and local partners.

During the visit, Queen Rania also experienced the Tourism Path in Rasoun passing through the Roman Olive Tree Farm where millenary plants showcased Omayyad agricultural technology and an ancient irrigation system instituted in the days of the caliphs, highlighted the village’s environmental, cultural and natural values.

Her Majesty was also briefed by Director General of JRF, Valentina Qussisiya, on income-generating projects implemented in the village which include the packaging and bottling of olive oil and the production of olive pickles.  The project, established by the Rasoun Cooperative through the support of JRF, also seeks to train smallholder farmers on different organic farming methods.

Additional projects supported by JRF as part of a comprehensive development program comprise the purchase of an ultra sound device for the local Health Care Center, the establishment of a revolving fund for members of the Rasoun community and the introduction of a bus route connecting Rasoun to Irbid.

On the occasion, Queen Rania was also briefed on several other projects sponsored by Orange which include the construction of a bakery, the first of its kind in Al Uyoun Municipality and the establishment of a nursery in the Rasoun Secondary School for Girls.
Accompanied by H.E Maha Al Khatib, Minister of Tourism and the Mayor of Ajloun, Wanas Harahsheh, Her Majesty continued touring the Rasoun trail which features distinctive and untapped natural and cultural resources.  Al Khatib explained the Rasoun track is a sub-route of a wider 25 km Ajloun path designed to create a permanent route which enables visitors to interact with the local community and experience Jordanian rural village life.

MoTA in coordination with JRF, The Hashemite Fund for Development of Jordan Badia, USAID and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing are also piloting three other paths in Salt, Tafileh and Northern Badia in an effort to promote sustainable tourism across the Kindgom.

Queen Rania then visited a series of uncovered Roman graves and stopped by the house of Abu Isam, a local community member, who set up a small exhibit featuring traditional artifacts and ornaments.  The exhibit, which will be incorporated by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities as a landmark on the Rasoun Tourism Path, is free of charge and encourages children to learn more about Jordanian culture and heritage.

As part of Rasoun’s celebrations to honour His Majesty’s accession to the throne, a group of 40 young children then took part in a 3-kilometer marathon, preceded by a lively folklore dance performance. Just seconds after Queen Rania waved the flag to initiate the race, the children’s excitement soared and the race kicked-off.