Zureikat receives WTM Award

Jeffery, Zureikat, Thomson and Cacy at the awards ceremony

RABEE Zureikat, founder of Jordan’s Zikra Exchange, has secured a prestigious World Travel Market (WTM) Global Award in recognition of his work which is making a difference to some of the poorest people in Jordan.

WTM chairman Fiona Jeffery presented the award to Zureikat, founder of Zikra Exchange, at WTM’s VIP opening.

WTM’s Global Media Network, comprising key travel industry media around the world, put forward organisations and individuals which have contributed to their region’s travel and tourism industry. Zureikat was nominated by TTN and publishing director Kim Thomsonjointly presented the award with Jeffery and the Boeing company’s MD airline marketing services, Jeff Cacy.

Zureikat has pioneered the exchange tourism programme in Jordan through the foundation of the Zikra Exchange travel initiative which encourages urban dwellers to visit rural areas to understand the different culture and traditions. Revenue generated is ploughed back into the economic development of the local community. The initiative also bridges the gap between the often isolated rural communities and the more affluent urban population.

An average trip generates about £630 and to date about 400 trips have taken place with visitors participating in a range of activities including tomato-picking, basket weaving and cooking traditional dishes. The model is simple and can be easily replicated with Zureikat already exploring opportunities to extend it across the Arab world.

Jeffery said: “Rabee Zureikat’s entrepreneurial spirit has seen a simple project, carried out on a local scale, touch and change the lives of the local community in a sustainable way. The prospect of exchange tourism being widened out to help other communities in the region is very exciting going forward.”