Alaa Al Akash of Gadara cycling: working with CROSSDEV in Umm Qais, Jordan
Gadara Cycling is one of the small tourism projects recently established within the Umm Qais archaeological site in Northern Jordan to welcome local and international tourists. Lead by Alaa Al Akash, the business is now part of the CROSSDEV project’s network of tourism businesses working together in a joint approach to maximise Umm Qais' potential in offering tourists the best possible experience.
“When I first opened Gadara Cycling it was an opportunity to build a business based on my personal passion", Alaa Al Akash said. He had just retired from public service and, still young and energic, he decided to try a new business that nobody tried before in the area and that would allow tourists to combine a number of experiences at the same time: biking, nature, heritage, and sport.
The project started in cooperation with Al Baraka Tourism Company. In Alaa’s words: "Through this business we aimed at introducing bicycling sports to Umm Qais and to use it as a tool to present the beauty of the historical and geographical location of the region, being an area overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and the Yarmouk River".
In 2019 Gadara Cycling started the cooperation with CROSSDEV, which aims to link all small businesses with other activities in Umm Qais, provides trainings for small businesses and developed a website for tourists looking to visit Umm Qais from all over the world.
“During the initial stage of this biking idea - Alaa Al Akash said - we faced some obstacles as the local community seemed not too keen into biking, exercising, and learning about the area though bike tours. Then, we received support from Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and from His Highness Crown Prince Hussein when the prince biked with us. Then came the pandemic: it hit us hard and impacted us all badly. However, we are sure things will improve soon, and we will keep on with our business. Working with CROSSDEV, we are trying to attract more tourists from outside and inside Jordan to come to Umm Qais and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and mingle with the local community and learn our customs and traditions”.
Gadara cycling participated in several workshops and meetings organised by the local CROSSDEV team from JUST University in Amman and in Umm Qais since October 2019.
Some photos of Alaa and his Gadara Cycling tours around Umm Qais, Jordan