Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Jordan ranks second in region for hosting international association meetings

23 May 2019

Jordan is officially the second highest ranking country in the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates for the number of international association meetings held in 2018 according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

This success follows a series of key decisions by the Jordan Tourism Board to support the MICE sector. This new focus on the sector was emphasized with the launch of the Convention Bureau as a separate division in 2017. USAID BEST supported the establishment of the bureau and continues to provide guidance as needed. The Convention Bureau’s main missions are to attract, facilitate and support international MICE organizers plan their next successful event. The bureau represents the destination of Jordan as a whole and leads the process of attracting international conventions and events to the country.  Since its establishment, the JCB has made huge strides towards becoming a well-established convention bureau in record time, with the ability to bid for and win regional and international conferences.

According to recently published ICCA rankings for 2018, Jordan ranked second in the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates for hosting 22 international association meetings, with a percentage increase of more than 100%. The bureau has worked with countless associations producing bids, providing event support, and subventions, establishing solid partnerships and connections, pushing the MICE industry forward and onward.  These efforts have paid off tremendously with this new positioning.

“Jordan’s presence as a strong destination for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions is only growing and developing,” said Dr. Abed Arabiyat, the Managing Director for JCB’s parent body, the Jordan Tourism Board. He added that the current results were, “A stepping stone for further progress and achievements.”

Now, Jordan ranked fourth amongst countries in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, for the total number of international association meetings held in 2018. Amman, which hosted a modest three international conferences in 2014, has seen the fastest growth amongst all cities in the MENA region and well ahead of contenders Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Dubai. Amman hosted 19 conferences in 2018.

“USAID BEST has been a pillar of support in establishing the Jordan Convention Bureau,” said Lina Al-Qudah, Destination Marketing Specialist for JCB, adding that, “The project started off as a BEST initiative, and their guidance and support has been integral throughout the process.”

USAID BEST has supported the JCB through its establishment in 2017 and assisted it in beginning bids for international conferences in 2018. As a result of BEST’s support, JCB was able to set up an industry advisory board and an event support program, develop guidelines and recommendations on bidding for major events and participation in international trade shows and also establish an events and venues guidebook to Jordan for organizations or associations looking to hold events.