King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre managed by Hilton King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre managed by Hilton

JORDAN: Reaching for MICE Excellence (Part1)

THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IN JORDAN IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM OF THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESILIENCE, CREATING IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR ELEVATING ITS ALREADY FLOURISHING MICE SECTOR, WHERE UNIQUE OFFERINGS ARE GRADUALLY BUILDING THE DESTINATION'S STABLE REPUTATION AMONG BUSINESS TRAVELLERS AND MICE PLANNERS.

The Kingdom's unbeatable fusion of modern and ancient wonders has a potential to impress corporate visitors, while the industry stakeholders continue to invest in the development of world-class facilities encouraging the international attention of the travel and tourism influencers and decision-makers.

Kamel Ajami, vice president, operations, Saudi Arabia and Levant, Hilton, revealed, "The tourism industry in Jordan is set to rise over the coming years.

With new developments and offerings launched and others set for completion soon, the Kingdom continues to provide a wide range of offerings ensuring the fortification of one of its main economic pillars that is tourism."

Emphasising the importance of reaching out to new markets, thus indicating the current approach shaping the country's tourism industry, Stephanie Twaissi, director, A Piece of Jordan, noted, "We are [...] in a position where we must seek to attract a new type of visitor, branch out into a new area and show the world that Jordan is suitable for all types of travel, business included."

FRUITFUL COLLABORATION

Jordan' s industry professionals collectively agreed that the government of Jordan along with the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) continuously intensify their common efforts to promote the country as an ideal destination for MICE travellers.

Ajami has observed the sector's boom and while attributing it to the outcome of the collaboration between governmental bodies with key local and international entities, he confirmed, "[…] Jordan's MICE sector has grown exponentially in just a few short years. As part of the plan set forth, the Kingdom has upgraded its infrastructure to feature first-class business facilities and hotels that incorporate modern offices built to the highest standards and state-of-the-art conference centres."

Elaborating on the latest actions of cooperation, Ziad Fostuq, director, sales and marketing, Crowne Plaza Amman Hotel, unveiled, "We work closely with JTB and the Ministry of Tourism on different initiatives, and recently we have participated in their online portal [project] which they will launch soon for MICE buyers worldwide."

Speaking about the collaborative efforts related to the region of Aqaba, Dan Benzaquen, general manager, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba, clarified, "The JTB and Aqaba Economic Zone Authority work closely with airlines and resorts to come up with reasonable offers to attract guests.

This makes Aqaba competitive not only for leisure guests but also for clients coming from abroad." While noting that the growth of business tourism in Jordan, and Aqaba in particular, is obvious, he further added that the region has a strong potential for boosting the business tourism thanks to more international hotel brands opening soon, improved domestic and international air connectivity and presence of renowned companies.

Michael Koth, director, operations, Levant, InterContinental (IHG) Jordan, also revealed that the commitment to collectively focus on the GCC outbound business and other far eastern markets is paying off with the trend of pharmaceutical and technological companies returning to Jordan for MICE purposes.

He explained, "Incentives may still take a little longer but for corporate pan-Arabian events and conferences, our seven IHG hotels have already crossed the valley and are confidently climbing up."

As significant proof that the common efforts have set the wheels in motion, Twaissi pointed out that Jordan has repeatedly hosted prominent global events, namely the recent Arab Summit and the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa, which both demonstrated the success of the promotional initiatives to attract high-profile events.

Hosted at King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre managed by Hilton (KHBTCC), hailed as Jordan's largest convention centre, these occasions indicate the country's rising status on the MICE travellers' world map.

Twaissi further enthused, "Jordan is a fantastic mix of history, culture and adventure; it combines the new and old, offering breathtaking and mysterious sights, high standard accommodation, excellent infrastructure and delicious cuisine. Jordan really does have something to suit everyone."

To sum-up, Zeid Talhami, director, sales and marketing, Fairmont Amman, pinponted, "Just as important [as the strategic collaboration] is reinforcing the fact that Jordan is safe, secure and sophisticated for travels, with accessible Arab hospitality and authentic experiences communicated on a global level.