Views expressed on tourism
Views expressed on tourism
I do visit the Site of Prophet Elijah from time to time in a region located in northern Ajloun. I think that we agree that whoever ascends these mountains will reach a nonpareil paradise on Earth. This archaeological site, which dates back to the 6th century and includes a large and a small church, is not frequented by pilgrims, worshipers or tourists. On the other hand, what is worrying is the disappearance of magnificent small piece mosaics that adorn the church and baptisteries floors. During several meetings with successive ministers of tourism, it was construed that there was a plan to have the site uplifted. All I can say is that the site nowadays is different from the way it was in 2000, as the mosaics disappear gradually, which is considered a grave loss.
My friend Awni, the son of late friend Nasser Qewar, forwarded to me a new book titled, "Expressed Views on Tourism”. The book is rich in information in the field of Jordanian economy, particularly on tourism. The book was presented to former minister of tourism Nayef Hamid Al Fayez who said that Awni is closely associated with tourism as he always thinks of new means to promote tourism product and present it in its finest image. The book is a collection of essays published by Qewar in a number of daily and local newspapers.
As for the Site of Prophet Elijah, two articles drew my attention, namely one on religious tourism and the other is on the visit of the Pope in 2009. The book notes that the year 2000 witnessed a great boost in tourism making the visit of Pope John Paul II, the world’s celebrations of the Jubilee 2000, and the Popes’ assertions that there are Christian pilgrimage sites in Jordan among which is the Site of Prophet Elijah. Five sites have been listed among the officially recognized pilgrimage sites namely, the Site of Prophet Elijah, the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mountain in Anjara, the Baptism Site, Mount Nebo, and Castle of Herod the Great in Mukawir (Machaerus). Yet, our country has several sites where visiting them is considered as sacred pilgrimage like Umm al-Jimal and Umm ar-Rasas and others. What is important is to have Qewar present an invitation to care for what has taken place in the aftermath of the Pope's visit in 2009 and Pope Francis' 2014 visit. We, On the other hand, have not to be blamed for the shortcoming since the regional circumstances has steered our "tourism spring" into undesirable outcomes.
What is important, in the first place, is that Qewar does call, as we do, to have permanent contacts with the various sectors that are concerned in touristic-religious issues, rather than merely the official ones. Furthermore, it is also important to draft a clear tourism strategy and abstain from relying on sudden initiatives that crop up.
May the Almighty God direct us into the right path.