Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Inspire Middle East Jordan, Oman & Syria: different approaches to boosting tourist numbers

5 May 2019

The 26th edition of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai brought together more than 150 countries to showcase their tourism projects and as expected, Middle Eastern countries were well represented on the ground.

Euronews looks at three divergent tourism strategies from the region, from Jordan to Oman and Syria.

Home to the ancient site of Petra, inbound visitors to Jordan spent an estimated $4.64 billion in 2017, according to the latest report by the World Tourism Organisation. This ranks the country as one of the most popular destinations in the Middle East.

According to the managing director of Jordan’s Tourism Board, Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, inviting social media influencers to visit the kingdom is a key part of their strategy going forward.

“We can see that when the influencers came to Jordan and lived the experience - shared their experiences within their own platforms - it created demand,” he said.

“Definitely the cost effective way [to market], is social media and online platforms, where you can have reach and exposure of the content,” he added.

Opening up low cost carrier routes - especially via Europe - is also boosting tourist numbers to the destination, according to the ministry.

The Tourism Board’s managing director also went on to say that ploughing more funds into the industry was essential for the country to cope with a recent surge in visitor numbers.

“The challenge now, is that we need more investment in Petra,” said Arabiyat, “We need more hotel rooms - and also in Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and Aqaba.”

Of late, the Jordanian government has granted tax exemption status to tourism projects and developments, which Arabiyat hopes will help attract foreign and domestic investment and further expand the sector.

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