Thursday, March 11, 2010

Report from Jordan Travel Mart

Travel Agent Central
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For a few balmy, sun-filled days in late February, the third annual Jordan Travel Mart (JTM) convened on the shores of the Dead Sea. Bringing together government officials, Jordanian suppliers, and travel professionals and journalists from North and South America, the event showcased Jordan’s touristic riches. Moreover, the trade show was an optimistic affirmation of the country’s promotional strategy. While the global economic crisis humbled the travel industry in 2009, Jordan showed remarkable resilience, with a 1.6 percent increase in overnight visitors. “We can’t help but be cautiously optimistic about 2010,” declared Nayef Al-Fayez, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board, at the opening breakfast.

Since we first attended the JTM in 2008, we’ve witnessed the successful strategy of the Jordan Tourism Board North America (JTBNA) in marketing the country as a stand-alone destination in niche markets: religious/faith, history/culture, eco/nature, leisure/wellness, adventure, and voluntourism. Emphasizing Jordan’s year-round moderate climate and the diversity of its product, the JTBNA strives to increase the length of stay of American visitors. A major part of the economy (13 percent of GDP), tourism is the second foreign-currency earner after migrant work remittances, and the U.S. travel market is second only to the Arab region.

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