Sheraton adds mall to hotel

The Sheraton Amman Al Nabil ... on expansion trail.

The Sheraton Amman Al Nabil Hotel & Towers is adding another aspect to its allure. The hotel will soon be opening a mall annexed to the hotel main building.

The new addition will house four cinemas seating 635 people, food courts, retail shops and boutiques sporting the world's brand names.

"The new building will also contain medium size conference and banqueting halls to complement the facilities available at the hotel. The building will be decorated and furnished to the highest standards in the industry," said public relations manager Nadine Batayneh.

Jordan's silver lining to the cloud over the tourism industry is the fact that King Abdullah II has undertaken economic reforms, including partial privatisation of some state owned enterprises, according to Batayneh.

Also, Jordan's entry, in January 2000, into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the signing the Free Trade Agreement with the US, will provide a shot-in-the-arm to the industry.

"On its behalf, Sheraton Amman Al Nabil Hotel & Towers adds value to the Jordanian economy through securing jobs for the locals - as a majority of the staff is Jordanian. We also provide professional training and know-how through the expertise of our international team. Also, the Sheraton Amman helps put foreign currency into the local economy by attracting more visitors," said Batayneh.

Although Jordan is situated in one of the most politically volatile regions in the world, Batayneh said the borders it shares with Israel and Iraq have not marred the security of the country.

However, she added that any unstable occurrence in the region would negatively affect, not only tourism, but other significant areas as well.

"We are endeavouring, with the help of the government, as well as other institutes, to show the world that Jordan is a safe country," she said.

Batayneh echoed regional industry sentiment, saying the government must do all it can to promote facts, with the help of its embassies and tourism offices abroad.

This year, with Gulf tourists opting to holiday in the region, the Sheraton Amman Al Nabil Hotel & Towers has witnessed an increase in the number of travellers from the region, she said.

She added occupancy levels during the summer (June-August) reached 70 per cent, of which a large number of guests came from the Gulf.

"We are currently doing relatively well with daily occupancy figures of around 65-70 per cent. A stable political scenario would surely add 15 to 20 per cent points in occupancy," she said.

The Gulf tourism industry, says Batayneh, hinges on political stability in the region.

"If the Israeli-Palestine conflict continues, or war on Iraq is declared, not only will Jordan will be affected, but the whole world will be too," she said.