"In recent years, new and improved sustainable-tourism initiatives are spreading throughout the Middle East. These initiatives propound responsible travel that helps to conserve the environment and improve the well being of the local people living there... In the past, an influx of tourists to destinations like Petra and the Sinai led to degradation of the surrounding resources and exploitation of the indigenous people. Recently however certain initiatives aim to correct some of these adverse impacts."
"In August (2010), the Petra Development Tourism and Regional Authority (PDTRA) in Jordan started drafting a Master Plan... [to create] ways in which increased tourism can reach the local level. This includes addressing key social challenges endemic to the area like child labor, poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. The authority has already extended support to seven civil society organizations working in the region and has provided the Vocational Training Corporation with USD 35,000 to train local residents for careers in the hospitality industry."
"The Adrere Amellal eco-lodge in the Siwa Oasis of Egypt, is the brain child of environmentalist Mounir Neamatallah, and was one of the first working models of sustainable tourism in the Arab world."
"Kibbutz communities in Israel provide one of the earliest examples of using tourism for socio- economic upliftment. Kibbutzim are tiny agricultural and rural communities that run on a system of joint ownership and social equality."
"Oman is gradually becoming an eco destination and its [government's] commitment to sustainable tourism is unlike any other in the region.. "
Implications from IFTF:
I think its notable that market, policy, and philanthropic forces are all driving such initiatives.
SFG-ME December 2010 pgs. 10-13