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August 14 2022 3:26 PM ˚
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Madaba — Jordan’s 2022 story to tell the world

Khalid Dalal
Khalid Dalal is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah, and works currently as a senior advisor for media, strategic communication, PR, international cooperation, and business development locally, regionally and globally. (File photo: Jordan News)
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Madaba, a 33-century-old city of unique and attractive historical features, will be this year the venue for a string of tourist activities, having been chosen the Arab Tourism Capital for 2022.اضافة اعلان

Winning the prestigious title is timely, as stakeholders in Jordan’s tourism sector, which is rightly dubbed “Jordan’s oil” since it is a major contributor to GDP, are in top gear in a drive to regain and surpass the pre-pandemic figures, of 2019, when tourism sector hit a historical high with an annual revenue of around $5.8 billion.

Madaba will be a road show for the sector, with hopes high that the event will draw the tourists’ attention to this central town and its surroundings where centuries of history and geography meet.

Being in the spotlight, the Madaba program is a test for tourism authorities’ skills in PR and event management, and for the effectiveness and efficiency of their plans to take tourism to a whole new level where all the criteria of destination management are met.

These criteria include modern management, solid infrastructure, diversity of tourism resources and patterns, environment protection, including keeping places clean and tidy, a sound and well-informed response to developments in the world of tourism, safety, protection of public health and stability, among others.
We need to ensure that every element in the equation is tourist-friendly and consistent with the goals of the Jordan National Tourism Strategy 2021-2025...
This, of course, necessitates awareness efforts targeting host communities at all national destinations, so that people, authorities and other stakeholders are all on the same page as we inch toward a very challenging and demanding future.

We need to ensure that every element in the equation is tourist-friendly and consistent with the goals of the Jordan National Tourism Strategy 2021-2025, which “places the tourism sector at the heart of Jordan’s economy and society”, addresses “the challenges and gaps Jordan faces and aligns them with the strengths and opportunities the country can build on to bolster national economic growth and job creation”.

Speaking of strengths, which we should capitalize on, it is safe to say that the private sector tourism has mastered the art, and is likely to play a pivotal role in promoting the image of Jordan as a must-see destination. This has been recognized internationally as, for example, a five-star Amman hotel, the Four Seasons, has been awarded Five Star Hotel Honor by 2022 Forbes Travel Guide.

As oil prices soar and oil-producing Gulf countries are harvesting this boom, we need to be very careful and insightful as we design packages for GCC tourists coming to Jordan, who look for a safe, family-friendly destination, where all members of the family find the best places to stay, visit and shop with no hustle and the best and most amusing experience ever.

Let us keep in mind that some regional competitors are going through very difficult times that keep them off the radar of Arab tourists. The upside of this situation is that Jordan and very few other Arab destinations are now in the field, and as such, failure to seize this opportunity is not an option.

With all of this in mind, local media outlets are challenged, too, to shoulder their responsibilities. The key word is “professionalism”. Chasing clicks and likes by focusing on the negative side of any story and playing “sensational” is not professional and is counterproductive.

Jordan has a story to tell the world, an interesting one if we know how to narrate it, keeping the best interest of our beautiful country in our minds.


The writer is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah, and works currently as a senior advisor for media, strategic communication, PR, international cooperation, and business development locally, regionally and globally. [email protected]


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