Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

More than 300 jobs created by tourist restaurants in Aqaba

17 Nov 2019

With 700,000 tourists in 2017, over 900,000 in 2018 and more than 1 million tourists expected by the end of 2019, Aqaba is an increasingly popular tourist destination. As more visitors make their way to Jordan’s only coastal city, the industry continues to grow and the restaurant subsector continues to expand. In partnership with Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and the Jordan Restaurant Association (JRA), USAID BEST supports creating jobs and improving service excellence at restaurants in Aqaba. In 2019, more than 300 restaurant jobs were created and 100% of all tourist restaurants were classified as ‘Tourist Approved’.

This year, BEST met with restaurant owners, managers and supervisors and discussed the ideal number of staff needed to meet the ASEZA Approved Quality Standards and Classification for Restaurants. For each restaurant, BEST helped identify additional staffing needs. As a result of the consultations, 105 new jobs were created at tourist restaurants due to business expansion and improvement.

In November, USAID BEST determined that 14 newly opened tourist restaurants in Aqaba created 213 new jobs in 2019. In addition, BEST provided mentorship and training for upper-level staff on topics including safe food handling, hygiene, menu planning, and food presentation.

Job creation and boosting service excellence goes hand-in-hand with recent efforts to classify restaurants in Aqaba to meet the standards of the subsector and expectations of tourists. As of August 2019, all tourist restaurants in Aqaba were officially classified as ‘Tourist Approved’ under the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority’s new Restaurant Classification Standards. BEST’s work with ASEZA and JRA is important for improving service, guest experiences, sales, and job creation, thus enhancing the tourism industry in Jordan.