Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Biblical familiarization trip takes tour operators around Jordan

15 Nov 2018

The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) recently hosted a week-long biblical familiarization trip for 12 tour operations who sell faith and classical itineraries in North America. The trip, which was supported by USAID BEST, covered the main biblical and cultural sites in Jordan, including Mount Nebo and Madaba, Machaerus, the baptism site and Petra. A staff writer from Going On Faith, a religious travel magazine based in the US, also accompanied the group. The trip also included a workshop which allowed trip participants to network and connect with local tour operators.

"After I got here and after I've done all this, it has made a huge change in my perception of what Jordan is and I feel like now I'm anxious to bring people back here," said David Fish, a participant who works for Free Spirit Vacations & Events. He added, "The hospitality in Jordan has been amazing, the hotels have been superb...the people we've met, the places we've gone to have been absolutely fantastic. But when you add into the equation the faith portion of it, it elevates it to a whole new level."

“I am absolutely blown away by the amount of biblical history here. It’s crazy. I can’t believe how many people in our country in the USA don’t know,” said Nora Merendino, a tour director at AAA Tours. She added, “When I go home, I’m promoting Jordan to my church immediately, and to my company immediately because I think it’s absolutely beautiful. And I think one of the falsehoods surrounding Jordan is that it’s not safe, and I have come and found out that that is so not true. It is totally safe.”

BEST is currently supporting JTB with its Biblical Tourism Strategy, which aims at increasing the number of faith-based tourists in the country. This strategy will not only strengthen and reaffirm Jordan’s position as a key destination for biblical tourism but also stimulate the country’s tourism industry as a whole and make it more resilient.