PM sacks Jordan pavilion commissioner at Expo 2020 Dubai

Jordanians turn to social media to express anger at viral videos

jordan pavilion expo 2020 new
An undated photo of the entrance to the Jordan pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordanians expressed anger and frustration Thursday after videos, shot at Jordan’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, went viral showing two guides talking to a local TV station giving distorted information about the Kingdom’s history and geography. The undated videos caused uproar on social media and were released just as Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh headed to Dubai to inaugurate the Jordanian National Day event held at the pavilion.اضافة اعلان

The Jordanian pavilion had already come under fire when the expo opened for what visitors said was uninteresting designs and content. Jordan had more than five years to plan and execute what should have been an innovative and interesting showcase, social media activists claimed.

The latest debacle has embarrassed the government, prompting Khaswaneh to relieve Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation CEO Abdel Fattah Al-Kayed on Saturday from his duties as commissioner-general of Jordan’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, with immediate effect, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Activists on social media asked why had the government failed to seek for the help of licensed tourist guides instead of relying on unqualified public relations recruits.

Ashraf Alrai, a senior media consultant based in Dubai, told Jordan News that he’d been contacted by officials from the Jordan pavilion two weeks before the expo was set to kick-off.

After a phone call with these officials in which he laid out a media plan, Alrai said he offered his services to the organizers of a voluntary basis, having worked in media in Dubai for more than 12 years.

The following day he received the opportunity to review the Jordanian pavilion’s media plans for the expo, and upon reviewing them found them lacking. He described the pavilion’s participation as likely to be “a failure”, and urged the organizers to reconsider their strategy.

Hind Khlaifat, founder and CEO of Alocloud, a Jordanian digital marketing firm, voiced her frustrations on Twitter, saying in a tweet that her firm had been contracted to produce a 3D movie for the expo. She claimed that after two months of work, the contracting firm pulled out unexpectedly.

Hani Alsalim, the former head of the Jordan Tour Guides Association, voiced his outrage in remarks to Jordan News, urging the government to hold accountable those responsible for the disappointing events.

“It’s not possible that these people are tour guides, because even the most inexperienced tour guides wouldn’t make mistakes like this,” he said.
VMLY&R Amman, the company responsible for hiring the pavilion’s ushers, issued a press statement Friday that said the employees were “trained only to guide and direct attendees through the pavilion” and that speaking to the media was “never within their purview”.

The firm said both ushers have since been removed from their duties in the pavilion.

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