AMMAN, Jordan – The National Tourism Strategy 2011-2015 was launched today at a ceremony held under the patronage of HE Dr. Marouf Al Bakhit, Prime Minister of Jordan. The strategy builds on achievements of the previous one (2004-2010) and will guide the continued development of Jordan’s tourism sector over the next 5 years with the overall goal of increasing Jordan’s tourism receipts to JD4.2 billion by 2015. The strategy was developed by the private sector guided by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) in partnership with the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), Department of Antiquities, and the Federation of Tourism Associations. The USAID Jordan Tourism Development project (Siyaha) provided technical expertise and funding for the development of the strategy over a period of more than a year.
“Jordan will be a distinctive destination offering diverse, year-round visitor experiences that will enrich the lives of Jordanians and their guests. This strategy will direct the tourism sector in planning and implementing the changes and actions necessary to raise the overall competitiveness of Jordan’s tourism industry, enhance the visitor experience through innovation in product development, better position and promote the tourism offering to global markets so as to attract higher yield customers throughout the year, create a regulatory and operating environment which drives better business performance,
and release the full energy of the private sector as the engine of growth,” said HE Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.
Dr. Abu Ghazaleh added that, “Jordan will continuously work on creating a more supportive business climate to enable successful investments in the tourism sector, as Jordan has great potential, which investors can help us reach, and we in return can help investors reach their potential and contribute to the economic prosperity.”
“USAID will assist Jordan in achieving its potential in tourism, as Jordan competes with other destinations through architecture, culture, and people; a combination that is uniquely Jordanian,” explained Kevin Rushing, USAID/Jordan’s Acting Mission Director.
The strategy was developed over the past year, with working groups specialized in each of the four pillar areas (marketing, product development, human resource development, and enabling environment) meeting extensively to set targets and goals, and put in place action plans to guide efforts towards achieving these goals.
Ms. Lina Annab, General Manager of Zara Investment Holding and Coordinator of the human resources pillar, explained: “Tourism is one of the most labor- intensive industries in the economy, with significant tendencies to hire young people. In addition, it is a key driver in creating job opportunities in other related sectors. In tackling issues related to the development of human resources in this sector, the National Tourism Strategy took macro, as well as micro, approaches. Some of the targets set by this pillar include, but are not limited to, increasing the female labor participation rate in this sector, raising awareness and dispelling stereotypes about work in tourism aimed at making it an employer of choice, and improving supply-side factors such as upgrading travel and tourism education and training outputs.”
In 2010, Jordan welcomed 8.2 million visitors, and tourism receipts totaled JD 2.4 billion. The updated strategy thus details the actions needed to achieve this, by raising the overall competitiveness of Jordan’s tourism industry, enhancing the visitor experience through innovation in product development, better position and promote the tourism offering to global markets to attract higher yield customers throughout the year, and creating a regulatory and operating environment which drives better business performance and releases the full energy of the private sector as the engine of growth.
Marketing efforts will be stepped up and focused towards increasing the total number of tourist arrivals to 9.4 million, growing domestic tourism receipts by 30% and reducing seasonality so that annual receipts are more evenly distributed throughout the year.
In the area of product development, efforts will be geared towards increasing air capacity into Jordan by 20% over the lifespan of the NTS, completing 20 new demand-driven tourism infrastructure projects and ensuring that 100% of hotels and 80% of restaurants are approved and classified under the new national classifications scheme.
In terms of labor market development, the sector will work towards creating 25,000 new direct jobs in tourism, increasing female participation in the workforce by 15%, getting 5,000 students trained at the 11 VTC centers, and enhancing hospitality skills of 40,000 employees working in tourism.
To create an enabling legislative environment that facilitates the development of Jordan’s tourism sector, the strategy includes passing a new tourism law and updating the professions bylaws, which regulate private enterprises working in the tourism sector and thus help upgrade the level and quality of services provided to tourists.
“Our support in developing the strategy focused on industry competitiveness. USAID/Siyaha worked with the government and private sector partners to ensure international competitiveness criteria for tourism development shape the strategy and to ensure sustainability principles are woven throughout its initiatives,” said Ibrahim Osta, USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project (Siyaha) Chief of Party.
The first national tourism strategy was launched in 2004 and covered the period 2004-2010. It set high level goals for developing Jordan’s tourism sector and increasing the number of visitors to the country. These goals were surpassed before the end of the strategy period, and the tourism sector has witnessed great successes. The updated for the coming period sets new targets and will guide implementation of the strategy needed to achieve the set goals. This will lead to capitalizing on Jordan’s tourism strengths and overcoming its challenges in order to generate significant economic impact through tourism. The strategy launch will be followed by a set of detailed work plans showing the actions to be taken under each pillar throughout the coming 5 years. These work plans will be developed by the private sector with the participation of the Ministry of Tourism and other related public entities.