Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Rebounding from Crisis: Managing Jordan's International Image Conference

3 Mar 2016

Amman (March 2, 2016) - Jordan's tourism industry was in full force at the Rebounding from Crisis: Managing Jordan's International Image conference that took place today under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, organized by Dar Al Diafa with support from the USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project (BEST). The one-day conference brought together international experts as well as Jordan's local talent in tourism to help Jordan's tourism sector overcome crisis.

The conference covered topics such as the nature of the crisis facing Jordan, tourism's global trends and opportunities for Jordan in addition to developing crisis communications to address negative perceptions in order to minimize damage. Around 100 participants were provided with new perspectives on imaging and branding aimed at positioning Jordan on the international map as a safe hub for visitors and tourism investment. Lively discussions took place between speakers and participants on how to address the challenges faced by tourism business enterprises through creative approaches and best practices to help business owners maintain their employees and protect their investments.

Ibrahim Osta, USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project Chief of Party addressed participants on ways the tourism industry can build resilience and return to growth as well as ways that USAID BEST project is providing support to the sector to achieve this. He explained that tourism decline is not a result of sudden crisis and that short term solutions will yield marginal results.

"We live in a new regional landscape. We cannot return to normal as the industry had experienced in the peak year of 2010. A 'new normal' is needed to be invented and new solutions are needed to engage the international marketplace," said Osta.

A key take-away of the conference was that Jordan's tourism industry must own the communication message they wish to be received internationally. Reshaping travelers' perceptions of Jordan as a destination requires active and industry-wide effort. Osta noted that the USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project (BEST) is ready to partner with the tourism trade on initiatives that grow demand and achieve sales conversion.

Conference speakers included: H.E. Mr. Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, H.E. Mr. Akel Biltaji, Mayor of Amman, Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of Jordan Tourism Board, H.E. Mr. Michael Nazzal, Chairman of Jordan Hotel Association, H.E. Mr. Issa Gammoh, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Suzy Hatough-Bouran, Director of Dar Al Diafa for Tourism Human Resources Development Consultancy, Ibrahim Osta, Chief of Party at USAID BEST project, Michelle McKenzie, Destination Marketing Team Leader at USAID BEST project, Tom Buncle, International Destination Consultant and Managing Director of Yellow Railroad Ltd., Gordon Campbell Gray, Founder and Chairman of Cambell Gray Hotels.

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