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The Outside ViewJordan on the eco-tourism map.

By Phil Ndovu

I was in London during that last snowstorm and managed to attend a book launch,.

The author, a friend of mine who is an architect, has designed some of the world's most eco-friendly hotels, and has spent the better part of the last couple of years travelling the world over to research his book, Authentic Ecolodges.

The first thing that struck me about Hitesh Mehta's book is that a Jordanian lodge was included,.

I soon realized that Feynan Ecolodge was the only

one in the entire Middle East that was featured! That's quite something when one considers how much money some environment-friendly hotels in the region have spent on building and promoting themselves.

Furthering Jordan's emerging reputation as an eco-destination, Wild Jordan, the business arm of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), recently received the Best Ethical Travel Award from The Guardian newspaper in the UK in recognition of its work by using tourism to support communities and protect the environment,.

I was excited to tell Hitesh that I had been to Feynan Ecolodge a couple of times, and was impressed not only by the way it blends in with its environment, but also by the way it is so intricately linked with the local community,.

Locals built the lodge, the staff is predominantly Bedouin, and the food is prepared by families that live in the surrounding hills,.

The most enchanting thing about Feynan is that it is completely lit by locally made candles quite a unique and romantic experience.

While Feynan is only one of the numerous properties that RSCN promotes or manages, I've used some of the others as a base to explore other equally fascinating parts of Jordan,.

What surprises me is that regardless of the time of year that I have visited, the properties are rarely filled with Jordanians.

It strikes me as unfortunate that most well-to-do locals have never heard of Feynan, let alone been there (or for that matter, any of the RSCN sites),.

It is even more disappointing given that the preferential pricing for locals makes these lodges accessible to so many people,.

The international community has recognized Jordan's contribution to eco-friendly hospitality; the expatriates living here frequent them often, and perhaps it is time that more Jordanians did as well.

So, as you think about your resolutions for the New Year, perhaps visiting one of Jordan's marvels especially one that has gained international recognition for its green credentials should feature on your list of things to do in 2011.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

The author can be contacted

at phil@ndovu.com

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Dec 27, 2010
Words:457
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