New national strategy for Tourism Handcraft Development

5 October 2009

Amman The new national handcraft strategy for Jordan was presented to the sector at a symposium held this morning. The strategy was developed by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) and the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II to guide the development of the handcraft sector and eventually lead to a diverse range of Jordanian handmade products that reflect local culture and tradition and meet international quality standards.


The symposium was attended by H.E. Ms. Maha Al Khatib, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, along with USAID officials and around 200 representatives from the tourism and handcraft sectors, including Jordanian artisans.


“This strategy will help develop a key tourism product, which will both improve the visitor experience and bring greater economic benefits to local communities, especially to women,” said H.E. Ms. Maha Al Khatib, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.


 “Handicrafts not only represent the underlying culture where they are produced they provide mostly in-home employment opportunities for the producers.  Jordan’s fragmented handicraft market has incredible potential to mature and grow.  The rich, vibrant, and creative colors, materials, and Made in Jordan designs are what every tourist would like to bring home as a memory of their time here,” said Steve Gonyea, Director of Economic Growth Office at USAID. 


The strategy incorporated feedback from members of the handcraft sector through a ten-member steering committee that included artisans and representatives from the Jordan Handicraft Producers Association (JHPA), Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), Jordan Handicraft Trade Association (JHTA), Jordanian Association of Traditional Handicraft & Folk Arts, RSCN, Jordan River Foundation, the USAID tourism project and MoTA. The committee reviewed the strategy and contributed their ideas and expertise. This contribution helped to develop a solid, comprehensive and realistic plan for the sector that takes into account the needs of the sector and local artisans.


Now that the strategy has been presented to industry today, implementation of it will begin immediately to guide development of the sector by encouraging new designs, improving access to markets for producers, training artisans, pricing products, and creating a national identity through handicrafts. The National Handicraft Strategy covers all aspects of handicrafts, including production, product development, marketing, legal issues and training. It will be implemented in close coordination with NGOs, community organizations, entrepreneurs, business owners and associations involved in handicraft development.


Ultimately, the strategy will have a strong impact on the underprivileged, mainly women in particular, who will be able to develop their skills through training that are planned as part of strategy implementation. Improved skills and designs will help improve sales of artisans’ products and contribute to a more enjoyable shopping experience for visitors.