A new campaign targeting tourists and the tourism industry is being launched to improve tourist attitudes and behaviour towards working children, working animals and the historic monuments of Petra in Jordan.
The “Care for Petra” Campaign is the result of 11 government and non-governmental organisations pulling together with the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), as part of their wider efforts to address the critical common problems seen at the site, while improving tourist experience of the Park.
The campaign aims to give tourists the information they need to make the right choices when visiting the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, cited as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The three issues in the spotlight in the “Care for Petra” campaign are tackling the problem of child labour in the tourism sector, promoting animal welfare, and preserving the ancient archaeological heritage and monuments within the Petra Park.
Very young children work on the site selling souvenirs and offering donkey rides. The awareness campaign asks visitors not to buy items from children or give them money, as this encourages them to stay out of school.
Tourists also unintentionally use injured or weak donkeys and horses to travel around the large site. The campaign provides advice for tourists on ways to prevent animal suffering in the Park and encourages visitors to enjoy the monuments on foot instead wherever possible.
Petra, which was the famous backdrop for the movie Indiana Jones 25 years ago, is carved into the fragile sandstone making it prone to irreversible erosion. Visitors are asked to avoid standing or climbing on the monuments, and also not to buy pieces of rock or antiquities illegally offered for sale.
The Petra Park authorities and the taskforce behind “Care for Petra” launched the campaign at 12 noon today, under the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister. An educational animated film was debuted. The film will be shown to tourists entering the site, who will also receive informational materials with tips and advice to help them make the right choices to protect Petra for future generations.
“We shouldn’t assume that tourists and tour operators know how to treat the children, animals and monuments of Petra. Our friendly campaign gives visitors the information they need to get the most out of their visit and be responsible tourists,” said Dr. Emad Hijazeen, PDTRA Deputy Chief Commissioner, Petra Archaeological Park Commissioner.
The Care for Petra campaign aims to raise awareness and foster responsible attitudes, behaviours, initiatives and actions from tourists and the tourism industry on three specific inter-related and equally weighted core issues:
· the conditions and welfare of working animals inside the park;
· child labour within the park;
· damage to Petra’s archaeological heritage and monuments by people and working animals.
· The Care for Petra
The Care for Petra Taskforce, formed in 2012 and chaired by PDTRA, consists of Bait Al Anbat, the Brooke, the International Labour Organization, the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, the Jordan Tourism Board, the Jordan Tour Guides Association, the Petra National Trust, Save the Children, SPANA-Jordan, UNESCO Amman and the USAID Economic Growth Through Sustainable Tourism Project.
Dr. Emad Hijazeen
Chair of the Care for Petra Campaign
PDTRA Deputy Chief Commissioner, Petra Archaeological Park Commissioner