Jordan to boost tourism

Petra... Jordan expects a full recovery of its tourism sector by 2004.

Jordan is looking to give a boost to its tourism industry in the aftermath of the Iraq conflict and the Sars crisis.

"We believe that the general mood is now more positive towards movement," said Marwan Khoury, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board.

He added that a full recovery was expected by the second half of 2004.

"Intra-regional traffic will certainly be boosted this year, and we are expecting a 25 per cent increase in overnight visitors from our key markets - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain."

Khoury stated that the JTB hosts around 800 journalists annually, "so as they can examine the facts on ground and report back favourably to readers", said Khoury.

He continued that the average tourist had certainly become more discerning and that there were basic structural changes which were currently being addressed, and would be closely monitored.

According to the JTB, Jordan is the ideal family destination for Arab travellers, and offers a wealth of incentives unique to the Arab world.

"We are undergoing extensive product development to meet the tastes and requirements of Arab families - for example we have just launched the Jordan Summer Camps programme specifically targeted at making holiday planning hassle-free for families with children. We are also highlighting the various festivals that are happening in Jordan this summer - the Jerash Festival, Souk Ukaz, Fuheis Festival, Jordan Meets the World etc," said Khoury.

Jordan is in the midst of an aggressive marketing and PR programme across the Arab world, while also working on more product diversification to enter niche markets, and penetrate new geographic markets.

The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) is the country's official national marketing organisation promoting Jordan as a tourism, business and meeting destination.

The JTB was officially launched in March 1998.