Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Salt Celebrates Status As Jordan’s First ‘Distincitve Destination’

25 Jan 2017

Under the patronage of Her Excellency Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Lina AnnabandU.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice G. Wells, the people of As-Salt celebrated the city’s designation as Jordan’s first ‘distinctive destination’ today.Over the coming three years, As-Salt will implement a comprehensive tourism development program to offer visitors experiences that reflect the city’s unique heritage and attractions.

At the celebration H.E. Lina Annab noted that, “Jordan’s cities have great potential to become key locations on Jordan’s tourism map, as each one of them has a unique identity and tourism resources that can attract a diverse group of tourists.” She added: “All five cities that competed for the distinctive destination designation worked hard to assess their tourism offerings and plan for development, and this is an important step towards collective national responsibility for tourism development in coordination with local communities.”

The goal of the Distinctive Destinations Program is to boost local economies by attracting more tourists and longer stays through developing the unique local visitor experience at cities throughout Jordan. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is implementing the program, supported by the United States Agency for International Development.  

U.S. Ambassador Alice Wells said,“This program gives communities the opportunity to get involved in transforming their areas into truly unique world-class destinations, all while benefiting the local economy. We predict that this program alone will create up to 300 jobs and benefit upwards of 50 businesses in Salt.”

Mayor of As-Salt, Khaled Khushman said, “I feel proud and excited that the cooperative efforts of the municipality, Al Balqa tourism directorate and the local tourism committee and community were fruitful.”He added, “The real work starts now and I’m looking forward to witnessing the results over the years to come.”

As-Salt will receive MoTA support, including financial and technical assistance, to implement its plans. USAID’s Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism project will offer technical and grant support to small and medium-sized enterprises that seek to deliver new and upgraded visitor experiences. In addition, an exclusive brand will be developed based on the town’s unique characteristics as a key tool for attracting visitors to the city.

The additional four towns nominated to compete under the Distinctive Destinations Program last year were Jarash, Karak, Ajloun and Madaba.All five cities worked diligently to identify their tourism strengths and propose areas for development. These five were selected based on preset eligibility criteria to determine readiness for tourism development. The municipalities worked with local tourism development committees to prepare their applications and a national program committee of government and private tourism representatives evaluated the applications and selected a winner. The United States government, through USAID, has provided foreign assistance from the American people to Jordan for more than 60 years.