October 3 2022 8:58 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Reviving tourism

Khalid Dalal
Khalid Dalal is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, a former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah, and works currently as a senior advisor for business development at Al-Ghad and Jordan News.
“Tourism is Jordan’s oil,” said Essam Fakhriddin, CEO of ATICO Fakhriddin Group and president of the Jordan Restaurants Association, which took part in the tourism sector’s interactive session, held as part of the National Economic Workshop at the Royal Hashemite Court, and is expected to submit its recommendations with a roadmap for the country’s economy soon.اضافة اعلان

Fakhriddin was reflecting on a series of recent activities by His Majesty King Abdullah and HRH Crown Prince Hussein, indicating increased interest in tapping the potential of the tourism industry as the country fights its way out of a serious economic crisis, after more than two years of COVID-19 repercussions, and into a future of prosperity and self-reliance.

To cite some examples, His Majesty and the Crown Prince visited last month Umm Qais, in Irbid Governorate, an important archaeological site in Jordan. During the visit, His Majesty “stressed the importance of highlighting the area’s history and promoting its attractions to bolster tourism … and noted the need to continue working on enhancing activities to enrich the tourism experience in Umm Qais”. He also toured a café and gift shop in the area before “joining hikers on part of the Jordan Trail, which extends over 650km from Umm Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south”.

The message is that no spot should be missed and investment should be made in every detail to give tourists the most interesting, exciting, and diversified experience in a country that is often described as “an open museum”.

This includes engaging the local community in such an experience, because tourists love to interact with people as much as they love to see places and experience the environment. That is why the King “stopped by Mariam Abu Alloush’s project, who serves local dishes to tourists at her home”.

Early last month, the King and the Crown Prince toured tourist and archaeological sites in the southern Maan Governorate, which has untapped potential as a destination on the Kingdom’s tourism map. They visited the almost 500-year-old Maan Castle, now a heritage museum, the old souk, which was established in the early 19th century, and a handicraft training center. The King directed officials “to step up efforts to enhance tourist activities in Maan to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector”.
Jordan is back, delighted to have launched its new tourism brand, as an authentic reflection of a destination which can be considered as a miniature continent... that welcomes everyone for leisure, business and healing.
Our leadership is fully aware that under the current circumstances, the country has to focus on what it has, especially since the tourism industry is a key contributor to our GDP (more than $5 billion in 2019, a number which tourism authorities hope to score again in 2023) and the Kingdom, according to the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), “is set to regain its spectacular pre-pandemic tourism momentum after the launch of its multifaceted new tourism brand last November”.

Commenting on that, Minister of Tourism Nayef Al-Fayez said: “Jordan is back, delighted to have launched its new tourism brand, as an authentic reflection of a destination which can be considered as a miniature continent... that welcomes everyone for leisure, business and healing.”

The brand, according to JTB Director Abdel Razzaq Arabiyat, “was conceived by JTB in cooperation with an alliance of local and global firms, designed as an inclusive catalyst to spread tourism across the Kingdom”.

Another example of Royal support for the tourism sector was the Crown Prince’s attendance, last month, of part of the tourism sector’s interactive session held as part of the National Economic Workshop to “stress the importance of capitalizing on the points of strength in the tourism sector, especially the potential of cultural tourism, medical tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, entertainment tourism, and religious tourism”.

All these examples lead to one conclusion: the vision is clear, so is the roadmap, it is now the duty of all stakeholders, including officials and the private sector, to absorb the Royal message and act accordingly.

That is why Fakhriddin voiced optimism that “the future of the tourism sector in Jordan is very promising .... It is a comprehensive Royal vision for the country, after all”.

All should contribute to make it a success story.


The writer is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, a former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah, and works currently as a senior advisor for business development at Al-Ghad and Jordan News.


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