MINISTER OF TOURISM AND ANTIQUITIES
Jordan 2016 I Tourism I Leader
BIOGRAPHY Graduated in International Relations from Brigham Young University in the United States, he has worked as the Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Jordan and Managing Director of the Dead Sea Institute Project. He is currently Chairman of the National Co. for Tourism Development and Jordan Heritage Revival Company.
THE TOURISM SECTOR CURRENTLY REPRESENTS 12-13% OF JORDAN’S GDP AND OUR AIM IS TO BRING IT TO SOMEWHERE CLOSE TO 18%.
A NEW FIVE YEAR CYCLE BEGAN FOR THE TOURISM STRATEGY AND THE SECTOR IS ALSO A PRIORITY FOR THE 2025 GOVERNMENT PLAN. WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR THE SECTOR?
In these strategies we look at capacity, human resources, the empowerment of women in the industry – because we see that there are not many in the sector – product development, marketing and the by-laws. It is a strategy that has to always be updated. The private sector is the key partner in this industry and we guide and facilitate things but we need them to be involved. This is what they need and we try to work together in continuing this.
The tourism sector currently represents 12-13% of Jordan’s GDP and our aim is to bring it to somewhere close to 18%. That is very ambitious, but we hope we can do it. We like the challenge, so hopefully this is the aim for 2025. The new “Yes, it’s Jordan” campaign is about showcasing something from the country.
People don’t realize there is much more to do in Jordan than what is known traditionally and we are trying to show them the new tourism product. Jordan has invested more in 4- and 5-star hotels and the size and quality of what we want requires 30,000 additional rooms, across all sectors.
Looking at the tourism sector, we predict 30% of tourism should be generated from medical and wellness tourism, as a minimum. There is huge potential in this segment and it is very important. We have an abundance of qualified physicians, dentists and other medical professionals all practicing by international standards. For medical tourism we are already number one in the region and fifth globally.
WHO IS THE TARGET MARKET OF JORDAN’S TOURISM SECTOR?
Jordan can cater to a global market and one very important market is our audience here in the region from the GCC, who come in the summer. Of course we try to increase that audience over the course of the year, and not just in summer.
At the same time, the international audience today is expats who live in the GCC, who understand the regional and national geography much better, and the traditional international markets with focus on Europe, the US and Middle East.
We also have big potential looking East at India, China, Korea and Japan, all those countries have great potential and that is why we are creating all these partnerships. You need the airlift to achieve this so we are seeking new and strategic partners for that.
WHAT INCENTIVES ARE IN PLACE TO HELP SPUR INVESTMENT?
In 2014 we issued Investment Law No.30, which covers many things, not just the tourism industry, but an important segment of that law is focused on the tourism industry, and this helps to encourage investment. In April 2016, a government initiative was launched to encourage tourism development and investment in areas outside of Amman.
This is one of many incentives we have given to drive investment across the country. As a destination Jordan is a diverse product and there are geographical areas in the country that require investment in hotels, restaurants and entertainment.