Jordan experienced a “turning point” in its history this month, the country’s tourism minister told an inaugural Resilience Through Tourism Summit in Amman on Wednesday
Minister of tourism and antiquities Lina Annab said: “We have proven to be a mature and adult democracy.
“It is a turning point in our history – a point we feel so proud about.”
Protests in Amman in early June forced Jordan’s prime minister from office and the government to halt major tax rises in events unprecedented in the country’s history.
Annab said: “We demonstrated what a democracy we are. This conference is timely in emphasising the resilience of our country.
“Tourists were coming to Jordan even while people were demonstrating their right to express their opinion.”
She added: “We had [the UK’s] Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visit Jordan [this week] to emphasise the stability of the country.”
Annab told the summit: “We persevered with a strategy of recovery in our tourism [and] the figures to May 2018 show a7% increase in visitor numbers and a 10% increase in receipts.”
“We set a target to double tourism receipts by 2022. But we are mindful of making our tourism sustainable. We must ensure our paradise is not spoiled by mass tourism.
“So many world travel destinations reach a saturation point of sameness. Our challenge now is to create a lasting framework [for Jordan’s tourism].”
Dr Abed Al Razzaq, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board, said: “We have seen the region suffer from social and political instability in the past two decades.
“After the Arab Spring, our tourism was hit hard. But as a small country we are resilient. Our success is as a country of stability.”
Now he said: “Our tourism sites are booming. We also see a massive increase in air routes to Jordan, with 14 new international routes opening this year.”
Al Razzaq said: “Selecting Jordan for this summit is very significant for us. It demonstrates our stability to the world.”
Dr Lewis Tatum, acting mission director for US development agency USAID in Jordan, told the summit: “The country welcomed over four million visitors in 2010.
“Then international tourism to Jordan fell dramatically although Jordan remained stable. Visitors to [the historic site of] Petra dipped 70% by 2016.”
However, he said: “Jordan welcomed 65% more visitors to Petra in 2017 than the previous year. It is an example of how the tourism sector can adapt and advance.”
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