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In Pictures: Jordan tourism threatens Bedouin
With 630,000 tourists visiting Petra in 2013, local Bedouin tribes fear they are losing their traditional way of life.
Last updated: 04 May 2014 10:17
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When the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the ancient city of Petra a World Heritage Site in 1985, the Jordanian government relocated over 300 families from Petra’s caves to the neighbouring village of Umm Sayhoun.

Now, Petra is one of Jordan’s most famed tourist attractions, and thousands of visitors pay a hefty entrance fee to look at the ancient city and get a taste of traditional Bedouin life. The same is true for Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert, granted a similar UNESCO designation in 2011.

Where there once was only rock, desert and sparse pockets of Bedouin camps, there are now tour groups from every continent and a growing population of once-nomadic Bedouin whose livelihoods depend on tourism.

"We are paying the consequences of that choice until now," said Giorgia Cesaro, project manager in UNESCO’s culture sector in Amman. "I can see a cultural threat to their traditions related to high contact with tourists and it somehow contaminating their traditions."

Five years ago, UNESCO added the Bedouin of Petra and Wadi Rum to a running list of intangible heritages – folklore and traditions not found anywhere else in the world – that are in need of urgent safekeeping. Beyond potential cultural threats, there is a sense that the commodification of Bedouin culture for tourist purposes has devalued education among the communities that work at the sites.

"Bedouins don’t see the point of staying in school for long; it doesn’t seem relevant for them," said John Shoup, an anthropology professor at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. "Young men are looking at people who have degrees, who are not making much more than their uneducated parents working in tourism."

But tourism has slowed, and a shrinking economy has brought into focus a struggling local education system and literacy rates far behind the rest of Jordan. "In 2009 and 2010 things were great," said Ibrahim Zalabi, a Bedouin who runs a camp for tourists in Wadi Rum. "After [uprisings in] Tunisia, Libya and Egypt… that’s when it all went downhill."


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Traditional rock-cut Nabatean tombs can be seen along the lower part of the ancient city of Petra.



/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
An estimated 630,000 tourists visited Petra in 2013, according to the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority.


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Tours in the Wadi Rum desert, located about an hour from Petra, usually cost between 15-20 Jordanian dinars ($30) per hour.


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Ibrahim Zalabi, 41, raises sheep and runs a camp for tourists in Wadi Rum. He worries about tourism's impact on traditional Bedouin culture. "There are young men who try and imitate tourists. They get drunk, [and] dress like them. This isn't a good thing."


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
10-year-old Abdullah Zalabi says he enjoys his studies, but many children in Wadi Rum eventually stop going to school to work in tourism.


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Rashed Zalabi, 19, says that all his friends have a phone with Internet and a Facebook account. "I don't always dress like this, but foreigners like it. Kids in the village wear all kinds of brands these days," he says.


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Two young Bedouin men say they want to get married, but there is no land for them to build houses in their over-populated village.


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
36-year-old vendor Atallah al-Bedul says he appreciates the exposure to different cultures that tourism brings, but he wishes the government would invest more in education. "We are Bedouin from Petra. We speak seven languages, but we can't read or write," he says.


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Fatmeh al-Bedul, 30, has been working in Petra since she was a young girl, but she does not want the same for her children. "Our kids [in the village] all left school, but we want them to study," she says. "If they spend their whole lives in Petra, what do they learn?"


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Abd al-Hawaytat, 36, operates a shop at a viewpoint above Petra's monastery. "There is no space for us to grow at all," he says, of Um Sayhoun village. "If the government doesn't give us land, then we will move back to the caves in Petra. If not this year, then the next."


/Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
60-year-old Salwa el-Badul was born in the caves of Petra, but moved out when it became a national park for tourism. "I wish I could return to the place where I grew up," she says.



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images:
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captions:

Traditional rock-cut Nabatean tombs can be seen along the lower part of the ancient city of Petra.

;*;An estimated 630,000 tourists visited Petra in 2013, according to the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority.;*;Tours in the Wadi Rum desert, located about an hour from Petra, usually cost between 15-20 Jordanian dinars ($30) per hour.;*;Ibrahim Zalabi, 41, raises sheep and runs a camp for tourists in Wadi Rum. He worries about tourism\(***)s impact on traditional Bedouin culture. "There are young men who try and imitate tourists. They get drunk, [and] dress like them. This isn\(***)t a good thing.";*;10-year-old Abdullah Zalabi says he enjoys his studies, but many children in Wadi Rum eventually stop going to school to work in tourism.;*;Rashed Zalabi, 19, says that all his friends have a phone with Internet and a Facebook account. "I don\(***)t always dress like this, but foreigners like it. Kids in the village wear all kinds of brands these days," he says.;*;Two young Bedouin men say they want to get married, but there is no land for them to build houses in their over-populated village.;*;36-year-old vendor Atallah al-Bedul says he appreciates the exposure to different cultures that tourism brings, but he wishes the government would invest more in education. "We are Bedouin from Petra. We speak seven languages, but we can\(***)t read or write," he says.;*;Fatmeh al-Bedul, 30, has been working in Petra since she was a young girl, but she does not want the same for her children. "Our kids [in the village] all left school, but we want them to study," she says. "If they spend their whole lives in Petra, what do they learn?";*;Abd al-Hawaytat, 36, operates a shop at a viewpoint above Petra\(***)s monastery. "There is no space for us to grow at all," he says, of Um Sayhoun village. "If the government doesn\(***)t give us land, then we will move back to the caves in Petra. If not this year, then the next.";*;60-year-old Salwa el-Badul was born in the caves of Petra, but moved out when it became a national park for tourism. "I wish I could return to the place where I grew up," she says. Daylife ID:
dcfc43799f61741dbfd4e63527eb6b35
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera;*;Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Tourism threatens Bedouin in Jordanhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordanen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:27:45 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/58a266bdae52c797cff647b49aad455a

Al-Deir, or "the Monastery", is Petra's largest carved monument and is located at the top of a one-hour walk up rocky steps.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/58a266bdae52c797cff647b49aad455aNadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Al-Deir, or "the Monastery", is Petra's largest carved monument and is located at the top of a one-hour walk up rocky steps.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/a8ef3619ff05f09f3a49b3891ba38ad4

An estimated 630,000 tourists visited Petra in 2013, according to the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/a8ef3619ff05f09f3a49b3891ba38ad4Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

An estimated 630,000 tourists visited Petra in 2013, according to the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/3e89168a2fbdd5c6fa13aa9bf2faaae2

Tours in the Wadi Rum desert, located about an hour from Petra, usually cost between 15-20 Jordanian dinars ($30) per hour.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/3e89168a2fbdd5c6fa13aa9bf2faaae2Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Tours in the Wadi Rum desert, located about an hour from Petra, usually cost between 15-20 Jordanian dinars ($30) per hour.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/ad93e8ddf0920a0f559e3cd49a7813fc

Ibrahim Zalabi, 41, raises sheep and runs a camp for tourists in Wadi Rum. He worries about tourism's impact on traditional Bedouin culture. "There are young men who try and imitate tourists. They get drunk, [and] dress like them. This isn't a good thing."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/ad93e8ddf0920a0f559e3cd49a7813fcNadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Ibrahim Zalabi, 41, raises sheep and runs a camp for tourists in Wadi Rum. He worries about tourism's impact on traditional Bedouin culture. "There are young men who try and imitate tourists. They get drunk, [and] dress like them. This isn't a good thing."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/76127e022c2c2c99489215ec9cb0b7d2

10-year-old Abdullah Zalabi says he enjoys his studies, but many children in Wadi Rum eventually stop going to school to work in tourism.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/76127e022c2c2c99489215ec9cb0b7d2Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

10-year-old Abdullah Zalabi says he enjoys his studies, but many children in Wadi Rum eventually stop going to school to work in tourism.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/77f955317857cb22be7c436f1fbf880f

Rashed Zalabi, 19, says that all his friends have a phone with Internet and a Facebook account. "I don't always dress like this, but foreigners like it. Kids in the village wear all kinds of brands these days," he says.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/77f955317857cb22be7c436f1fbf880fNadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Rashed Zalabi, 19, says that all his friends have a phone with Internet and a Facebook account. "I don't always dress like this, but foreigners like it. Kids in the village wear all kinds of brands these days," he says.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/49707b262b35668be0baf9f8c45457d4

Two young Bedouin men say they want to get married, but there is no land for them to build houses in their over-populated village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/49707b262b35668be0baf9f8c45457d4Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Two young Bedouin men say they want to get married, but there is no land for them to build houses in their over-populated village.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/9b073e306319cb9fd979b3daf940b154

36-year-old vendor Atallah al-Bedul says he appreciates the exposure to different cultures that tourism brings, but he wishes the government would invest more in education. "We are Bedouin from Petra. We speak seven languages, but we can't read or write," he says.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/9b073e306319cb9fd979b3daf940b154Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

36-year-old vendor Atallah al-Bedul says he appreciates the exposure to different cultures that tourism brings, but he wishes the government would invest more in education. "We are Bedouin from Petra. We speak seven languages, but we can't read or write," he says.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/31385c435c2fecba52a5465a54e22a2b

Fatmeh al-Bedul, 30, has been working in Petra since she was a young girl, but she does not want the same for her children. "Our kids [in the village] all left school, but we want them to study," she says. "If they spend their whole lives in Petra, what do they learn?"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/31385c435c2fecba52a5465a54e22a2bNadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Fatmeh al-Bedul, 30, has been working in Petra since she was a young girl, but she does not want the same for her children. "Our kids [in the village] all left school, but we want them to study," she says. "If they spend their whole lives in Petra, what do they learn?"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/438e961921f7b75cde75423927e3760a

Abd al-Hawaytat, 36, operates a shop at a viewpoint above Petra's monastery. "There is no space for us to grow at all," he says, of Um Sayhoun village. "If the government doesn't give us land, then we will move back to the caves in Petra. If not this year, then the next."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/438e961921f7b75cde75423927e3760aNadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

Abd al-Hawaytat, 36, operates a shop at a viewpoint above Petra's monastery. "There is no space for us to grow at all," he says, of Um Sayhoun village. "If the government doesn't give us land, then we will move back to the caves in Petra. If not this year, then the next."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/2e285d82b093a4657392f3ceed690ca1

60-year-old Salwa el-Badul was born in the caves of Petra, but moved out when it became a national park for tourism. "I wish I could return to the place where I grew up," she says.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Tourism_threatens_Bedouin_in_Jordan/slideshow/no-caption/2e285d82b093a4657392f3ceed690ca1Nadine Ajaka/Al Jazeera

60-year-old Salwa el-Badul was born in the caves of Petra, but moved out when it became a national park for tourism. "I wish I could return to the place where I grew up," she says.



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