In the wake of Jordan’s parliament rejecting a controversial bill that would have allowed citizens to convert to Christianity, the King Abdullah of Jordan is defending his country’s record in attracting tourists.
During a visit to the Bahamas, he told his audience that in spite of the global downturn in travel, business is booming in Jordan. Tourism revenues now exceed $1 billion and the number of tourists is expected to exceed 2 million by 2020. The Kingdom’s tourism boasts the lowest rates of death and sickness compared to neighboring countries such as Israel, which tend to attract more tourists.
With everything from desert safaris to winemaking to the culinary arts to the scuba diving industry attracting the attention of travelers, Jordan is increasingly establishing itself as a destination of choice.
“In some ways Jordan is in a unique position, so we’re surrounded by land, unlike, say Lebanon,” noted Lucy Attai Solomon, Director of Brand and Marketing for the Far East and Middle East for Tourism Jordan, who spoke on a panel at the BNO conference in Amman on September 4th.
Citing its well-organized and modern tourism infrastructure, Ethiopia in 2016 became the first African country to achieve the World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Development Goals. And with few billion-dollar investments in its infrastructure, Ethiopia has secured in its future a future of increased trade and higher incomes by uniting East Africa with the rest of the continent by bringing more of its resources to the table.
Qatar’s vision for a future of long-term sustainable growth is being pushed by its world-renowned diversification of resource exports. Although the region that Qatar seeks to grow into will be more densely populated than the one it already serves, it has designed its State Development Strategy to marry financial planners with goal-setting for citizens. By 2030, Qatar’s citizens will be able to anticipate new hotels, venues, and shopping centers opening every year with projected profit statements.
The Bahamas is also implementing a long-term vision to help push the local economy forward while resisting the temptation to follow in the footsteps of countries like North Korea, Iran, and Syria and maintain the status quo.
“The Bahamas hasn’t made great investments in infrastructure in terms of becoming a tourism hub for this region or for that matter the world,” said Mary Beth Fagan, International Marketing Director of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
At present, the Bahamas is joined in development by other smaller islands like Barbados, Turks and Caicos, and British Virgin Islands. Since each of these island nations is in complete control of its own attractions, it is not dependent on international travel for its financial viability. Because of the region’s uniquely free-market approach, the Bahamas has the opportunity to not only tell its own story, but also tell it in a globally competitive manner.
“I think we can learn a lot from the rest of the Caribbean for how to effectively navigate our island nation’s tourism industry and ensure we stay above water,” said one audience member at the conference.
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By Julie Parsonnet
About the Author: The LTC Travel Docent