Feynan Ecolodge is an award-winning lodge in the Wadi Araba area of Dana Biosphere Reserve. The lodge was built in 2005 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), and has been operated by EcoHotels (local Jordanian company) since September 2009. The project’s aim is to use ecotourism to generate revenue for conservation as well as provide sustainable, nature-based sources of income for the remote, rural, poor Bedouin communities of the lower part of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Twelve years on, Feynan is a pioneer of ecotourism in Jordan and has become a world-leading example of sustainable tourism. Under the management of EcoHotels, Feynan developed an ethos that stands on 5 pillars:
1. Offer guests unique and authentic experiences
2. Contribute to the conservation work of Dana Biosphere Reserve
3. Benefit and empower the local community
4. Minimize the environmental footprint of all the operations and activities
5. Provide environmental awareness, education & interpretation to guests, staff and local community
Feynan’s ethos and work has earned it numerous international award, including being chosen by National Geographic Traveler as one of the best 25 ecolodges in the world.
Feynan Ecolodge is more than a hotel; it is a destination that offers guests a plethora of unique and authentic experiences engrained in nature, adventure, culture, history and food. Everyday guests have a choice of activities to join in the daily schedule of guided experiences, including hikes in nature, canyoneering, visits to historic sites, Bedouin (local community) cultural experiences, mountain biking, stargazing, cooking classes and cooking demonstrations.
Whether you’re looking for history,
Socially, Feynan benefits the local community, the conservation of Dana Biosphere Reserve and the environment at large.
Benefitting the community:
Benefiting the local community is a very important pillar of the Feynan ethos. EcoHotels is committed to benefiting the local community. We believe this is the right thing to do. It is one of our core values as a business and is one of the main tenants of ecotourism. Over eighty families/400 individuals benefit from Feynan and over 50% of what guests pay stays within the local community. From direct employment to helping create numerous micro businesses, our approach to distributing the benefits of ecotourism with local people is award winning. Here are the ways we do it:
A shop at the lodge also showcases and sells a great deal of artisan crafts and artwork from local communities of Jordan’s nature reserves.
Contributing to the conservation work of Dana Biosphere Reserve:
A sizeable portion of the fee that guests pay at Feynan goes to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) for their conservation work in Dana Biosphere Reserve. Dana Biosphere Reserve is the second largest reserve in Jordan containing:
Feynan Ecolodge is a major contributor to finance RSCN’s conservation operations in Dana.
Minimize the environmental footprint of all operations and activities:
Feynan Ecolodge was designed to operate in harmony with its habitat and is operated in a way which minimizes the impact of tourism on the surrounding natural environment. It is the most advanced ‘eco’ accommodation in Jordan and employs a wide range of different technologies and programs aimed at leaving the smallest possible environmental footprint, for example:
Wadi Araba is a conservative area where women are largely unemployed and stay home to care for their families. Um Khalid is a member of that community, a local Bedouin mother of 5 living in a goat-hair tent 1km from the lodge. Since the establishment of the lodge, Um Khalid has been running her own bakery business. She has one client; Feynan Ecolodge. Three times a day, she bakes the shrak bread needs of the lodge. She is now the main breadwinner in her family. The minimum wage for full time work in Jordan is 225JD, most of the local community in the village near Feynan are earning minimum wage. Um Khalid works approximately 3 hours a day and earns nearly twice the national minimum wage with an average of 400JD per month. Through her business, she has managed to save enough money for her family to buy and install a photovoltaic system bringing electricity for the first time to her goat-hair tent. Her daily chore of washing the clothes of her family is now done by her newly acquired washing machine and her children now have light to study at night.
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