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Jordan Tourism keen to boost regional presence

Jordan tourism is looking to promote the destination beyond the regular – Dead Sea and Amman. The destination through its recent trade roadshow showcased MICE facilities thereby looking to tap into the corporate segment. Charmaine Fernz gets the update from officials…


Dr Sa’ed Radaideh, Consul General of Consulate General of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Dubai played host to the first workshop held under the patronage of Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The event led by the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) in partnership with the Jordan Tourism Board and Royal Jordanian Airlines highlighted the Kingdom’s Meeting and Incentive facilities (MICE), services and tourism offering. The networking event saw 15 participants which included JITOA members, hotels and tour operators interact with travel companies in the UAE to forge business partnerships.

Recent statistics released by Jordan’s Tourism Ministry report that the number of overnight and one-day visitors in H1 of 2017 touched 2,410,583 compared to 2,192,627 in the same period of 2016, marking an increase of 9.9%. For Petra, the numbers touched 297,615 for H1 of 2017 as compared to 204,530 for the same period in 2016.

Riding on this substantial growth, the tourism officials are keen to promote the destination among regional partners. As Lina Al Khaled, Executive Director of JITOA explains: “The Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) is a non-government private sector organization who advocates inbound tourism into Jordan. Being the only voluntary tourism organisation, we certainly look at the welfare of our agents. This is what makes us different. From a tourism perspective, the tourism board looks at the bigger tourism picture while we focus on three niche areas – MICE, Religious and Adventure. With around 58 members currently, we produce around 70% of the inbound business into Jordan.”

Lina Al Khaled, Executive Director of JITOA

The objective of the workshop by JITOA was to promote the MICE opportunities in Jordan and showcase the destination as a weekend getaway due to its close proximity.

Highlighting the importance of event, Dr Sa’ed Radaideh, Consul General of Consulate General of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan said: “The destination has a good capacity to cater for major MICE events in the areas of the Dead Sea, Aqaba, Amman and Petra. Jordan as a destination has so much history and culture coupled with a modern lifestyle. The reason JITOA in collaboration with the Jordan Tourism Board and under the Ministry of Tourism choose Dubai was due to the fact that Dubai is the economic regional hub in the Middle East.”

Destination Showcase

Jordan being a short haul destination of a two and half hour flight is well connected from UAE. The official carrier Royal Jordanian operates 21 flights a week – three flights a day from Dubai and two flights from Abu Dhabi. The airline is also gearing up to welcome its new 787 Dreamliner into its young fleet.

As Lina explains: “Our traditional tourism markets used to be Europe and North America especially Western Europe. However, the trend in the last 10 years has seen increased interest from Eastern Europe, India and China. The objective of our tourism efforts is to increase the length of stay of our tourists. Regionally too the stronger markets have been UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. However, we want our regional tourist to consider the destination as a weekend getaway or for a short break which is beyond the regular summer holidays.”

In an effort to highlight the new developments in the country, the new focus area is Aqaba with two key projects. The Ayla Oasis which is also a member of JITOA. The project is being completely built on green energy, this also includes an international Golf course an few hotels. The next in line is Saraya Aqaba by Eagle Hills, which will also see a new convention centre come up scheduled to open in 2019 along with hotel development.