SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Through Sept. 28 of this year, U.S. arrivals
in Jordan were up 23% over last year, according to Marwan Khoury,
managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board.
He said Jordan was attracting a mix of clientele, with interests
ranging from culture or religion to ecotourism and wellness
Then the troubles began in neighboring Israel, and about 65% to
75% of the business to Jordan from the U.S. was canceled for the
last three months of 2000, Khoury reported. All trips involving
Israel in the same itinerary were canceled, he added.
Now, "our worries are for 2001; we are not getting the same
inquiries as in the past."
That is why Khoury attended the U.S. Tour Operators Association
annual meeting here last month.
He came, he said, to convince all those tour operators that
previously had Jordan in their brochures to keep the country there,
"to help keep the country on the map."
Khoury said he also came to Scottsdale to send a message that
Jordan really wants business out of the U.S., that this market is
He added that, while Jordan is seeking the industry's support,
it also is offering to help and expects to engage in cooperative
advertising campaigns with industry interests.
"Life is normal in Jordan; it is normal in most of Israel, too,"
Tour operators and travel agents have a good understanding of
this, he said; the problem is the consumer.
Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board in North
America, in Arlington, Va., said advertising will probably continue
to push the theme of the "Jordan Experience."
That experience, Khoury said, can be defined as diversity, an
ancient land, "with 100 sites mentioned in the Bible," and a modern
kingdom, with its natural wonders "and modern accommodations."
It is a diversified product, he said, that is also "accessible,
hospitable and safe."