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Jordan, February 27, 2020
Gov't, European development bank join hands to boost sustainability, cultural heritage in tourism sector

AMMAN — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is joining forces with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) to promote sustainable tourism and boost the country’s cultural heritage, according to an EBRD statement.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Amman on Wednesday by EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region Heike Harmgart, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Majd Shweikeh and Chief Commissioner of PDTRA Suleiman Farajat, the statement said.

The MoU reflects each party's intention to work together on an integrated development plan for the Petra and southern Shouneh regions by boosting their cultural heritage resources, according to the statement.

The agreement also includes a plan to collaborate in the development of a Christian pilgrimage trail that will connect religious sites across Jordan.

The three partner organisations intend to work together to define and implement an action plan that will position the above-mentioned regions as high-quality tourism destinations within the next five years, according to the statement.

The key areas of focus will include strengthening the tourism sector, developing skills in the labour force, making the sites more accessible, marketing and promoting them and encouraging private sector participation and stakeholder engagement.

Additionally, the EBRD will seek investments to develop infrastructure and promote the management and sustainable operation of cultural heritage sites by training staff and developing their skills to a high level, the statement noted.

The EBRD began its operations in Jordan in 2012 and is supporting sustainable energy projects as well as direct and indirect financing of private enterprises, promoting infrastructure reform and facilitating non-sovereign financing. Since 2012, it has invested almost 1.5 billion euros across 50 projects in Jordan, with 140 million euros going to property and tourism, and 73 per cent invested in the private sector, according to the statement.