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Amateur photographers find effective platforms to promote their ‘neglected’ areas

By Omar Obeidat - Mar 20,2016 - Last updated at Mar 21,2016

Visitors arrive for a picnic in Koura District, 65km to the north of Amman, in this recent photo (Photo courtesy of Barakat Zaza)

AMMAN — A group of amateur photographers in the northern governorate of Irbid started their own initiative some 10 years ago with a mission to promote the green and inviting landscape in their areas on social media networks.

The effort came in response to what the activists perceived as “negligence” on the part of tourism authorities to pay sufficient attention to their home villages and their surroundings as tourist destinations.  

They started to take photos of some areas in the northern governorate, mainly in Koura District, some 65 kilometres north of Amman, and upload them on Facebook. 

This attracted the attention of social media users and now have now tens of thousands of followers, according to Barakat Zaza, photographer and founder of Adventurers Top Team, the name they have given to their group. 

"The main idea behind the initiative was to promote our areas among Jordanians to show them the beautiful landscape here in the spring," said Zaza, a resident of the village of Jdeita. 

The 40-year-old activist claimed that the northern part of the Kingdom is neglected by tourism authorities, with the focus in promoting Jordan usually on Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and Aqaba.

"Jordan is not limited to these attractions, there are tens of beautiful sites across the Kingdom, particularly in the north," said Ahamd Thiabat, another team member. 

Thiabat, a resident of Kufr Rakeb village in Koura, said that when people see photos on Facebook, the majority of them do not believe or are even shocked that such spectacular places exist in Jordan. 

"Many Jordanians are not aware of the natural attractions in the north. We can see that from the comments on social media," he added.  

During their 10-year-old project, Zaza told The Jordan Times, the team of adventurers has “discovered” over 20 natural tourist sites located between Koura District and the governorate of Ajloun to the south. 

The team currently comprises 15 photographers, according to Zaza, who said that social media networks helped them expand their outreach to thousands of domestic tourists.

The efforts paid off and as residents of the region, the photographers have seen Jordanians flock, especially from Amman, to enjoy the scenery and a relaxing weekend among the green in a virgin destination. 

The activists have also walked the extra mile, offering visitors sightseeing tours around Koura and Ajloun that include climbing, rappelling and camping in forests. 

Among the popular areas in the region, Zaza said, are Wadi Al Rayyan, Bergesh Forest, Eraq Al Dubb and Jdeita. 

He indicated that the team also provides homemade food to visitors, or food prepared by their own chef, in addition to kunafa, the famous dessert, baked on wood fire. 

 

Zaza, a former special operations officer in the army, said he learnt photography during his service in the army.   

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