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Jordan continues to invest


BEI
Despite the uncertainty linked to political upheavals in the region, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is continuing to invest in tourism. The sector has even become a national priority.



Jordan continues to invest
 JORDAN   Enjoying relative stability, while many Arab countries are still in turmoil, Jordan continues to focus on tourism as the cornerstone of its economy. The Ministry of Tourism has even issued a five-year strategic plan running to 90 pages for the period 2010-2015, in order to boost investment in the sector. This plan is based on four drivers: marketing and promotion, product development and development of the labour market, all of which will be environmentally friendly. The main aim is to boost the number of foreign tourists from 8.2 million to 9.4 million by 2015. 

With this new policy, the Jordanian authorities are hoping to expand tourism in the Kingdom, both in terms of air travel and in the hospitality industry. Since presenting this plan, the Kingdom has already introduced some measures to modernise its hotels and restaurants by implementing new classification that meets international standards.
The relative stability of Jordan and the obvious desire of the authorities to position the country as the region’s leading tourist destination clearly appeals to investors. The country has no fewer than twenty projects currently running, such as, for example, the Red sea Astrarium theme park in Aqaba with a budget of €1.15 billion, which is scheduled to open in 2014.

The shores of the Dead Sea are always attractive to investors, and the Development Zones Commission has announced they are expecting no less than €330 million worth of investment in the region, for 2012
As far as hotels are concerned, the area has just welcomed a new luxury Crowne Plaza resort hotel. 
These investments in tourism should also generate 1,500 new jobs in the Dead Sea region, according to the Commission.

Medical and business tourism are booming

Jordan seeks to develop avenues other than archaeological tourism (photo C.Garcia)
Jordan seeks to develop avenues other than archaeological tourism (photo C.Garcia)
The Hashemite Kingdom also plans to develop new niche tourism beyond archaeological and leisure tourism.

Medical tourism is on the rise, with increasing growth. Rising medical costs in the United States and Europe are pushing this specific clientele to move into new markets, including Jordan. Josef Woodman, founder of Patients Beyond Borders, believes that Jordan is becoming one of the top destinations for medical tourism. The country has excellent hospital infrastructure and skilled health professionals, all at very competitive prices. For tourists there is the opportunity to combine a holiday with health care. 
In 2011, medical tourism (240,000 visitors) showed good growth, up 8.3% compared to 2010, according to Jordan’s Private Hospitals Association.

Jordan is also expanding its range of business tourism, boosted by the opening of the new terminal at Queen Alia airport. The Dead Sea region, like that of Aqaba, is in the frontline position for conferences and business meetings, with all hotel facilities already present. The openings of the Dead Sea Lagoon (€120 million investment) a Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa, and a JW Marriot in Aqaba in 2013, will consolidate this.



Jenny Saleh, Beirut


Monday, November 26th 2012



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