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Agreement paves way for motorcycle tourism in Jordan

January 7, 2010

Agreement paves way for motorcycle tourism in Jordan

AMMAN – Jordanians and visitors will soon be offered a whole new way of experiencing the Kingdom under a grant agreement signed on Wednesday.

The USAID-Jordan Tourism Development Project (JTDP) extended a grant on Wednesday to the Jordan Motorcycle Club to encourage inbound and domestic tourism on motorcycles.

The two institutions will also work to cater to motorcycle enthusiasts visiting the Kingdom and coordinate with regional motorcycle clubs for events and tours, according to the grant.

// The club, which is operated by the Jordan Motorcycle Association (JMA), will work with the US-based Motorcycle Safety Foundation to establish safety standards – such as proper road behaviour and requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets – and develop a training course for motorcyclists.

The Kingdom is replete with winding scenic roads passing archaeological and natural sites away from major highways, the perfect routes for motorcycle rides to highlight the country as an “open-air museum”, according to JMA Secretary General Raja Gargour.

“We have the most beautiful natural scenery on Earth. How better to see them than in the open air rather than in the confines of a bus or a car?” Gargour told The Jordan Times yesterday.

“The road from Wadi Feinan to Petra is stunning, and the road from the Dead Sea to Karak is as if you’re driving along the Grand Canyon,” he said, describing back-roads in green areas such as Ajloun and Jerash as the “perfect destination” for motorcycle enthusiasts from the Arabian Gulf.

According to the grant agreement, USAID-JTDP will also help the club develop a website to link with similar associations and transform the JMC into a new tourism product to offer activities and “adventure experiences”.

“Supporting motorcycle tourism will help diversify the tourism offering in Jordan and attract a niche market of visitors to the country, in addition to promoting a new way to explore Jordan’s amazing sites to locals,” said Ibrahim Osta, chief of party of USAID-JTDP.

According to Gargour, the JMA aims to act as a regulatory agency, and registration from the association will become a requirement for motorcycle owners to receive and renew their licence.

Through cooperation with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the JMA will develop safety manuals and initiate a training of trainers programme according to international standards in order to provide lessons for drivers and aspiring club members.

Once certified, riders will obtain a licence enabling them to import and ride motorcycles with engine sizes above current national limits, according to the association. Should riders commit traffic violations, such as improper riding behaviour or driving without a helmet, the club would revoke their membership, Gargour noted.

By Taylor Luck

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