Category Archives: Jordan

News from Jordan Tourist Board. February 2011

Wadi Rum Banner

 

Greetings,

Malia

Thanks to you we are happy to report that Jordan has experienced record numbers from the North American market in 2010 and we are excited about various marketing activities we are taking on in 2011 in the hopes of increasing travel to Jordan.

However, in light of the recent protests in Egypt let me reassure you that the tourism situation in Jordan is “business as usual”. Unfortunately because many North American tour operators combine our destinations together, Jordan’s tourism industry is naturally being affected by the combined itineraries. On a positive note, we are noticing that in many cases tour operators are switching their tours to Jordan from Egypt and holding stand-alone trips to Jordan. Jordanian tour operators have been working closely with many tour operators and helping them with evacuations from Egypt.

As His Majesty King Abdullah once said, “If there are riots in Cincinnati or Chicago, should that stop us from visiting to New York or Boston?” When planning your trips I strongly recommend talking to the tourism boards, talking to your ground operators and people in country if there are concerns from your passengers. Your Jordan Tourism Board North America (JTBNA) team would be happy to work directly with you and your clients if anyone needs additional reassurance regarding travel to Jordan. We are available to answer any question any time.

We are hopeful and excited about the possibilities in 2011. We are dedicated to working with the travel industry and the media on various activities and new ventures. We are also looking forward to upcoming celebrations in 2012 and a few milestones to be recognized in Jordan’s cultural heritage:

2012 is the year that marks the 200th anniversary for the re-discovery of Petra by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the 50th anniversary of the filming of Lawrence of Arabia. 2012 is also the 40th year anniversary for UN World Heritage. JTBNA will keep you abreast of upcoming events through our newsletter.

To help us preserve Petra and Jordan’s treasures for the future and another 200 years JTBNA would like you to remind your clients about the importance of preserving our world heritage sites.Please copy and paste the list on the left of this screen“Friendly Reminders when visiting Jordan”on your websites and social media pages and pass on to your clients so that we can all participate in the preservation of our world heritage sites.

The JTBNA team is looking forward to working with you in 2011. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to help facilitate business for you. Wishing you a successful year!

Sincerley,

Malia Asfour

Director, Jordan Tourism Board North America

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 Jordan: Magical Mystical Tour


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Jordan: An Eco-Adventure Jordan: An Incentive Experience

Voluntourism in JordanJordan: A Tale of Two Sisters

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Friendly Reminders when Visiting Jordan

· Do not buy rocks or pottery: Keep your souvenirs eco-friendly. Picking up or buying rock fragments encourages vendors to break pieces off the monuments to sell to tourists.

· Do not buy antiquities: Stick to the law: buying antiquities is illegal.

· Please refrain from picking flowers or plants: Conserve the natural flora of Petra by not picking flowers and plants.

· Do not write, touch or scrape the walls: Sandstone is very sensitive; ancient treasures can easily be destroyed.

· Stay on trails, rocks can fall easily: To stay safe, keep to the main tracks and paths, and seek assistance from rangers, tourist police and guides as necessary.

· Do not sit or climb on the rocks: Protect the monuments from erosion by not leaning, sitting or climbing on them.

JTBNA Quick Updates 

JTBNA would like to congratulate Mrs. Malia Asfour on being appointed as a new director on the board of the  National Tourism Association, Services Inc. (NTASI). 

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VISA Fees to Jordan Increase as of January 1, 2011

Petra

 

Single entry (one time visit only): JD20 / US$30

Double entry (up to two visits only): JD32 / US$45

Multiple entry: JD60 / US$85
 

 

 

 

Visas have to be paid in the local currency at all entry points unless issued by the Jordanian Embassy or Consulate in your country. Single & Double entry visas are valid for 3 months from the date of issue and Multiple entry visas are valid for 6 months from the date of issue. A departure tax of 5 JD is paid at any border crossing except at the airports. Visas for groups of 5 or more are free of charge provided that they are booked through a Jordanian Tour Operator.

Currency exchange kiosks are available at all entry points. Please NOTE that additional fees are incurred if visas are obtained through a Jordanian Embassy or Consulate. 

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Jordan Tourism Revenue Rises 17% in 2010, Jordan Times Reports

Jordan’s tourism revenue rose 17 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year as the number of visitors increased, the Jordan Times reported.

 

Revenue climbed to 2.42 billion dinars ($3.4 billion) from 2.07 billion dinars in 2009, the newspaper said, citing figures from the Tourism Ministry.

 

The number of visitors rose 20 percent to 4.55 million from 3.78 million a year earlier, the newspaper added.

About 66 percent of those arriving were from Arab countries, 20 percent were non-Arab foreigners and 14 percent Jordanians living abroad, the Times said.

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King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center in Jordan Relaunched Under Hilton Hotels and Resort Brand Management

Hilton Worldwide has commenced management of Jordan’s Dead Sea King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, one of the largest convention centre’s in the Middle East region. The reflagged convention centre will now operate under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand.

With almost 5,000 m2 of meeting space and 23,000 m2 of build-up area spread over 25 conference and meeting rooms and three floors, King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre is one of the largest in the region. It can accommodate approximately 5000 guests. 

Hilton Worldwide manages the Convention Centre through an agreement with Dead Sea Resorts PSC Company. The Convention Centre is adjacent to the 285-room Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa that is currently under development and is scheduled to open in Q4 2014. 

  

As part of Jordan’s strategy to capture MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) business, the convention centre has hosted and will host international conferences such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2007, 2009 and May 2011, the International Monetary Fund, as well as local and regional conferences, workshops and exhibitions. With fully-equipped conference and meeting halls that vary in size and capacity, the centre is able to accommodate numerous events with different capacity requirements simultaneously.

KHBTCC has dedicated itself to achieve, encourage and set a local and regional benchmark for excellence in managing and attracting significant international, regional and local conventions, trade-shows, educational, cultural and social functions as well as other events to its world-class facilities, while maximizing the benefits for the Jordanian economy and local businesses.

  

KHBTCC will further strengthen the Hilton portfolio in Jordan, becoming the first project managed by the Hilton brand in Jordan, as one of five other new developments for Hilton Worldwide in the country. KHBTCC will join three new Hilton brand hotels in Aqaba, Amman and Dead Sea areas as well as the first Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Aqaba. 

 

 

 

News from Jordan. Dec 2010

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Articles on Jordan Travel Mart 2010  Receive FREE Brochures  Learn more about the Jordan Specialist Course    

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 Jordan: Magical Mystical Tour


 Jordan: A Biblical Land

Jordan: An Eco-Adventure Jordan: An Incentive Experience

Voluntourism in JordanJordan: A Tale of Two Sisters

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TL

Feynan Ecolodge Winner in Travel + Leisure‘s 2010 Global Vision Awards

AMMAN, Jordan

Feynan Ecolodge, located in Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan was awarded as winner of Sustainable Design in

Travel + Leisures sixth annual Global Vision Awards. 


AMMAN, Jordan – Feynan Ecolodge, located in Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan was awarded as winner of Sustainable Design in Travel + Leisures sixth annual Global Vision Awards.  

The monthly publication, with the largest readership of any travel magazine, awards organizations and companies that are making a difference in the traveler’s world.The 2010 Global Vision Awards detail why each organization is worthy of the award and offer “Take the Trip” information allowing travelers to experience first-hand the local cultures that have benefitted from their collective efforts. The awards are featured now on travelandleisure.com  and in the November issue of Travel + Leisure.

Feynan Ecolodge was designed by renowned Jordanian architect Ammar Khammash and funding for construction was supported by USAID.  The lodge, owned by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) and operated by EcoHotels in a unique private-sector NGO partnership, was selected for its commitment to sustainable design, evident throughout the lodge’s build and operation. The lodge is 100% solar powered utilizing solar-photovoltaic (PV) cells to generate electricity and solar panels to heat water. By night, it is illuminated by handmade candles. In the winter months, Feynan burns jift in its fireplaces for heat, a natural byproduct of the Kingdom’s annual olive pressing that saves Jordan’s precious trees. Most waste is recycled and clay jars created by a local community have eliminated the need for plastic disposable water bottles in guest rooms. The lodge also has strict water controls to conserve this precious resource sourced from nearby springs in Wadi Dana including aerators on faucets and showers.

 Feynan has also been awarded several other prestigious awards for its efforts including National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Top 50 Ecolodges in the World, The Guardian’s 2010 Green Travel List and 5 Green Stars from Eco Hotels of the World. Feynan was also included in the recently published book Authentic Ecolodges that features 40 of the world’s top ecolodges. EcoHotels’s Managing Director Nabil Tarazi said that, “EcoHotels is proud of this latest achievement that comes on the heels of our partner, the RSCN, being awarded the 2010 Guardian and Observer Ethical Travel Award. Such awards reinforce the importance of the work we are doing in promoting Jordan as a world class ecotourism destination. Our success helps us to conserve nature while simultaneously providing greater opportunities for the local communities that inhabit the areas we operate in.”

About EcoHotels:

 EcoHotels was founded to provide escapes embedded in local culture, filled with new experiences, and delivered with a passion for impeccable service. Residents and visitors to Jordan can rely on EcoHotels to develop environmentally-sustainable retreats that give back to local communities and invest in pivotal conservation projects.

 About Feynan Ecolodge:
Hailed as one of the top 50 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Feynan provides an adventurous, enchanting escape into the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The solar powered lodge is lit exclusively by candles and stars by night, with 26 en-suite rooms boasting unique arabesque designs. Feynan features regional vegetarian dishes made from local ingredients.  Guests can be found hiking or biking across diverse landscapes, encountering Bedouin, and exploring archeological sites including some of the world’s oldest copper mines.

About RSCN:

The RSCN is a Jordanian NGO, established in 1966 and devoted to the conservation of biodiversity. The Society has official delegation, through the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, to establish and manage protected areas and to enforce hunting regulations.  In addition to this statutory mandate, RSCN is very active in environmental education and research and has become world-renowned for its innovative eco-tourism and socio-economic programmes. It has been developing eco-tourism as a conservation tool for over ten years and is now a major player in the Kingdom’s tourism industry.


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Petra

Jordan’s Tourism on the Rise with More Record Numbers

Jordan’s tourism sector is celebrating more record numbers as vital statistics showed remarkable increases in visitor numbers and spending by the end of the 3rd quarter.

Central Bank and Ministry of Tourism statistics have shown that the number overnight tourists who have visited Jordan between January and September have reached 3.56 million people, a 23.4% increase over the same period in 2009. Tourism receipts for the same period reached 1.88 billion Jordanian Dinars ($2.65 billion), a rise of more than 20% over 2009.

Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Managing Director Nayef al-Fayez described the released figures as yet another landmark in Jordanian tourism. He said the numbers have – by far – outperformed 2008, which was the best tourism year ever in Jordan.

Mr. al-Fayez paid tribute Jordan’s unique offerings as a diverse tourist destination, and said that it was the main driver behind the Kingdom’s success in avoiding the negative impact of the global economic crisis in 2009.

He said JTB saw two main threats to tourism growth: declining traveler numbers and spending as a result of the global economic crisis, and the unexpected cut in the Board’s budget. “However,” Mr. al-Fayez added, “it was a challenge that we had to face with a great deal of planning and operational flexibility, and with tremendous support from the Jordan’s solid reputation as a unique tourist destination.”

The JTB Managing Director also paid tribute to Jordan’s tourism sector, whose strength he said was a main driver behind overcoming the global downturn. “Today, we are thrilled to see this pay off with more success and more growth,” he concluded.

The released 3rd quarter figures have shown an across-the-board visitor number increase from all regions and countries. Asia took the lion’s share in terms of percentage rise with South Asia going up 39.8% and East Asia & the Pacific going up 25.4%. However, Arab countries brought in the most visitor numbers totaling 1.7 million.

The rise in European tourists was also impressive, with a total of more than 532 thousand. French tourists came first with almost 61,000 people (a rise of 67.5% over 2009), British tourists were second with 52,000 (24.5%), Italian tourists were third with 43,320 (36.6%), German tourists were fourth with 36,850 (26.2%), and Spanish tourists were fifth with 33,300 (59.7%).

Overnight visitors from the USA totaled 125,424 people representing more than a 5% increase over the 3rd quarter of 2009, while Canadians totaled more than 16,000 people, a rise of almost 19%.

World Wonder Petra remained the jewel in the crown of Jordan’s touristic sites attracting more than 670,000 visitors in the first 9 months of 2010, a rise of 30%. Wadi Rum saw the largest growth in numbers with a jump of 63.6% to more than 189,300 people.

The Jordan Tourism Board had earlier said it was exploring new markets including China, Japan and Brazil to build on the successes of the past few years. It said it was working to minimize -if not end- the seasonal patterns of tourist arrivals and establish Jordan as an all-year round destination.

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Queen Rania: Third Most Influential Leader in Social Media

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- Amman) – Her Majesty Queen Rania came in third, following President Obama and 10 Downing Street in the list report by the Digital Policy Council, according to which, 1 out of 5 heads of state are currently on Twitter and engaging in social networking on the internet.

 In a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC), Her Majesty spoke about the importance of staying connected saying: “online there are no barriers, people are just very natural, they say what is on their mind and it enables this natural and honest flow of communication to take place which is so important for me”

In that spirit, Her Majesty launched “Twisit” earlier this year. In cooperation with Twitvid, a twitter video application site, Twisit. A “tourist swap” with a twist. Chosen by the public, the lucky winner from Jordan will be travelling to Seattle USA, while the American winner enjoyed an all paid vacation in Jordan last week.

Her Majesty has more than 1.3 million followers on the social networking site, Twitter and over three hundred thousand fans on Her facebook page, as well as very successful Youtube channel, where Her Majesty had worked to promote issues such as breaking stereotypes and cross cultural dialogue.

The Digital Policy Council report addresses a strong movement towards open government as more world leaders are using social media as a type of direct communication with their citizens and the global community. The Digital Policy Council is an international, non-partisan think tank that investigates the impact new media technologies have on advancing good governance and reshaping political discourse.

Emmy Award-Winning Equitrekking Debuts Jordan Episode on PBS on October 18, 2010

Emmy Award-Winning Equitrekking Debuts Jordan Episode on PBS on October 18, 2010

McLean, VA.- October 15, 2010- Equitrekking, the Emmy Award-winning lifestyle series hosted by Darley Newman, debuts its Jordan episode on October 18, 2010. Check your local listings for the exact time in your location (click here). In the DC area, Equitrekking will broadcast on Monday night at 10:30pm on WHUT, Channel 32.

In this two-episode journey through Jordan, Darley rides strong Arabian horses with the Bedouin in the spectacular Wadi Rum Desert, explores magical Petra and Dana Village on horseback, hikes Jordan’s version of the Grand Canyon, and floats in the Dead Sea. In the well-preserved Roman city of Jerash, Darley tries NASCAR’s ancient counterpart, dressing in Roman garb and hopping a ride on a horse drawn chariot. To gain insight into the history and characteristics of the Arabian breed, Equitrekking gains exclusive access to the Royal Stables, where Darley interviews HRH Princess Alia.

 

Learn more at Equitrekking.com

About Equitrekking and Darley Newman

Equitrekking is the Emmy Award-winning lifestyle television series that takes viewers on global travel adventures to experience culture, cuisine, history and adventure. Hosted by travel expert and producer Darley Newman, Equitrekking broadcasts in high definition on Public Television in North America and on international networks in over 65 countries. The show’s companion website

Equitrekking.com features everything visitors need to research and plan their travels, including articles, expert tips, photo galleries, travel articles and video clips.

endnote purple

THE MIGHTY ARROW, Soca King of the World, dies at 60.

The Mighty Arrow, Soca King of the World, dies at 60.

OLVESTON, Montserrat (Sept 15, 2010) – The Soca King of the World, Alphonsus “The Mighty Arrow” Cassell, died at his residence on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat today at the age of 60. 

The international recording artiste was diagnosed with cerebral cancer in early 2009. He was airlifted to the neighbouring island of Antigua last week for treatment. 

His family wishes to thank the medical teams, friends and family who gave their support during the period of his illness. 

Arrow or “Phonzie”, as he was referred to by close friends and family, is responsible for taking the soca genre to the international music scene with his 1982 smash hit, Hot, Hot, Hot. 

Having won the local calypso competition on four occasions, the talents of the proud son of Montserrat were spotted by former Beatles manager, Sir George Martin, who  worked with Arrow to turn his focus to his recording and touring career. 
 
Arrow recorded no less than 22 studio albums with other notable hits including Long Time, Dancing Mood, O’La Soca and Groove Master. 
 
He has performed at concerts, music festivals and gala events across the globe. 
 
“His death is a great loss to the family, his native land of Montserrat and the music world,” said his brother, Justin “Hero” Cassell, another talented vocalist and songwriter, who worked with Arrow during his peak years. 
 
Funeral announcements will be made in due course.  
 
—For further information contact Justin “Hero” Cassell at (664) 496-0203. 

Summer News from Jordan Tourism

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Jordan: An Eco-Adventure Jordan: An Incentive Experience

Voluntourism in JordanJordan: A Tale of Two Sisters

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Jordan Tourism Revenue Reaches JD1.1 Billion in 1st Half of 2010 

Tourism revenue rose by 36 percent in the first half of 2010 to JD1.1 billion compared with JD811.5 million in the first period of last year, according to spokesperson of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Insam Malkawi. Tourism revenues last June also edged up by 19 percent to JD201million compared to JD169 million in the same period of last year. The spokesperson for the ministry also mentioned that the number of visitors to the ancient city of Petra rose by 18 percent, Jerash 34 percent, Karak castle 22 percent and the Baptism Site 23 percent.

Petra Introduces New Electronic Ticketing System
(zawya.com)

PETRA – This summer, Petra park officials have introduced a new electronic ticketing service, to facilitate quicker entry for visitors, according to the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP). Petra ticket barcodes now indicate the numbers and nationalities of visitors streaming into the rose-red city each day.

The system, under which officials check tickets with handheld scanners, also allows park officials to check what time tourists enter and track peak visiting hours for future management plans at the park.

According to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), future plans include an expanded electronic service whereby visitors can reserve a day and time for their visit from kiosks to be placed in Amman, Wadi Musa and Aqaba.

Under the expanded system, visitors will be required to present their tickets at both entry and exit points, so that park officials can keep tabs on the number of tourists in the ancient Nabataean city at any given time, PDTRA officials told The Jordan Times previously.

Managing the flow of visitors has been at the top of park officials’ agenda, as peak times for tour groups lead to overcrowding, particularly in the Siq, which currently serves as both the entrance and exit to the park.As part of their plans for visitors, Petra officials have considered introducing an alternate exit and imposing limits on how many visitors can enter in a given hour.

PDTRA figures released earlier this week revealed that some 53,283 people visited the ancient Nabataean city last month, a 23 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2009, when 43,147 tourists visited the site. Approximately 515,000 tourists visited Petra in the January-July period, 40 per cent more than in the first seven months of 2009, when 368,000 tourists visited the site, the PDTRA indicated.

Queen Rania Announces Twisit Winners(Jordan Times)

AMMAN (JT) – Her Majesty Queen Rania on Tuesday announced that Ahmad Sharar and Carla Moreno were the two lucky winners of her online campaign to promote Jordan as a tourist destination.
As part of the tourist swap, in cooperation with Twitvid (a Twitter application) and the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), anyone above the age of 16 who had never been to Jordan was eligible to win the week-long trip for two by uploading a video explaining to Her Majesty why they would like to visit the Kingdom, and what they would like to see.
Meanwhile, Jordanians got the chance to upload videos welcoming people to their country and telling the world why Jordan is worth a visit.
All the videos submitted online as part of the competition, launched last month, received more than 260,000 views.
“Twisit is about fostering greater dialogue and understanding between people of different cultures,” Her Majesty said, describing the online “tourist swap”.
“It’s not a passive vacation; it’s an active learning experience. It’s about challenging yourself to visit somewhere new; it’s exploring; it’s listening and thinking; it’s swapping stories and experiences; and it’s about discovering something new about yourself and others,” she pointed out.
Sharar, who won the competition out of many Jordanian entries, will get a chance to visit the US, where the non-Jordanian winner, Moreno, hails from. The winners were selected from 10 finalists by online voting.
The 20-year-old, an electrical engineering student at Yarmouk University, expressed his excitement about winning the competition on Her Majesty’s Facebook page.
“I feel so proud and happy to win Twisit. Thanks a lot everyone, I would have never won without your love and support, and a special thanks goes to Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan,” he wrote.
Moreno, who lives in Seattle, got the news early in the morning due to the time difference and thanked all those who voted for her via her Twitter account: “Just got news… I won #TwisitJordan! 3 nights of no eating/sleeping paid off! Thank you Tweeties!”
The tourist swap is part of Queen Rania’s ongoing efforts to bridge the gaps between cultures and a continuation of her endeavour to encourage cross-cultural dialogue, as on YouTube and her recent New York Times bestseller children’s book “The Sandwich Swap” .
The initiative also comes as part of Her Majesty’s continuous efforts to promote Jordan internationally as a great tourist destination.

Ecologists Discover New Habitat of Rare Fox(Jordan Times) AMMAN – Ecologists announced on Monday that Blanford’s fox (Vulpes Cana), a locally and globally threatened mammal, has been found in “more than expected numbers” in Jabal Masouda, a proposed protected area. Previous studies indicated that the fox’s habitat in Jordan was only in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the Wadi Rum Protected Area, and Petra, and that very few of them inhabited the Kingdom. But a recent study funded by the Dutch government and carried out by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) found a larger community of Blanford’s foxes in Jabal Masouda area. Located in the south of Jordan in Maan Governorate, Jabal Masouda is named after the highest mountain peak in the area. The site, with an elevation ranging between 180 metres and 1,500 metres above sea level, contains three bio-geographical zones – Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian and Saharo-Arabian – according to the RSCN. The proposed protected area, part of Al Sharah mountain series, is characterised by steep mountains and seven vegetation types, from juniper in the highlands to sand dunes and acacia trees along the valleys in the lowlands, according to the RSCN.
Eid said the Jabal Masouda proposed protected area stretches over 300 square kilometres, but the habitat of the Blanford’s fox is restricted to only 50 square kilometres.
He said a lack of research in the area was the reason behind the late discovery of the species there. “The Blanford’s fox is listed under the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species. It is a small fox, active during the night, and has a thick, furry tail that helps it balance while jumping over steep rocky mountains,” Eid told The Jordan Times yesterday over the phone.  

A plan for protecting the small furry mammal, drawn up by the RSCN, mainly entails raising local communities’ awareness of the uniqueness of Blanford’s fox, in addition to preserving the animal and its habitat, according to Eid.

News from Jordan Tourist Board, June 2010

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Jordan: An Eco-Adventure Jordan: An Incentive Experience

Voluntourism in JordanJordan: A Tale of Two Sisters

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Jordan Festival opens June 30
(Jordan Times)

AMMAN – The Jordan Festival will open on June 30 featuring a variety of Jordanian, Arab and international artists.
 
The month-long event, organised by the Friends of Jordan Festivals (FJF) in cooperation with organisers of the Beiteddine Festival, will take place at Jabal Al Qalaa (Citadel), with ticket prices starting at JD10, according to a FJF statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times yesterday.
 
One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a tribute to “Kawkab El Sharq” Oum Koulsoum with the Egyptian diva Amal Maher and Salim Sahhab’s orchestra on opening night, according to the statement.
 
The festival will also feature a concert by prominent Iraqi singer Kathem Al Saher who will pay homage to the famous poet, Nizar Qabbani, and dedicate most of the songs to his poems, the statement.
 
In addition, Pink Martini, Il Divo, Rafael Amargo, the Syrian jazz band “Itar Shame'”, the Palestine Youth Orchestra, the Shaolin Monks, the Khoury Brothers, Makadi Nahhas, Amal Maher, Whirling Derwishes Dede, and Farida and the Iraqi Maqams will participate in the festival.
 
Jadal, Humam Ammari, Salam Hmoud, Aziz Maraqa and stand-up comedians will present the Jordanian Night, the statement added.
 
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Maha Khatib yesterday said the government entered into partnership with the private sector to hold the festival, as it alone cannot run cultural festivals and allocate the required funds in light of the current conditions the Kingdom is going through, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
 
In a press conference on Monday, the minister highlighted the importance of collaborating with the Beiteddine Festival to exchange expertise.
 
“Jordan Festival 2010 is more than an artistic event for us, it is a true reflection of the rich cultural dimension that Jordan enjoys and which we are proud of,” the statement quoted FJF Chairman Issam Salfiti as saying.
 
“The twinning with the… renowned Beiteddine Festival is a step towards sharing experiences, building capacities, promoting local talents, cutting costs and networking with international artists and festivals, thus reaffirming Jordan as a cultural and tourist destination,” he added.
 
Founded in March 2010 by a group of businessmen and businesswomen, the FJF is a nonprofit organisation that seeks to promote Jordan as a cultural destination.

Jordan’s Talent, Potential on Display at Key Film Festival(Jordan Times) 

AMMAN – There is a strong Jordanian presence at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with two films competing for the top prize filmed in the Kingdom.
“Fair Game” by American director Doug Liman, and “Route Irish” by veteran British director Ken Loach have made it to the final selection for the Palme d’Or, a source of pride for the dozens of local crew and cast which helped make the pictures.
The two directors have expressed their satisfaction in filming in the Kingdom.
“We found that we were very welcome in Jordan. The locations were good and the Jordanians who worked with us were skilful and dedicated,” Loach was quoted as saying in a Royal Film Commission (RFC) statement, expressing willingness to return to film in the country.
Doug Liman, who in addition to “Fair Game” has helmed “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, stressed that he too enjoyed his time filming in the Kingdom.
“I have filmed all over the world, and all over the Middle East, and Jordan was an absolute delight. It is literally a filmmaker’s paradise,” Liman said, according to the RFC statement.
“Fair Game”, which tells the story of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, used the services of some 50 Jordanian cast and crew, according to Issam Husseini, “Fair Game” production manager.
“The local crew performed superbly from the runner up to the production manager, they were so excited to work on the job and to work with a director like Doug Liman,” he said.
An award at Cannes would be a tribute to the hard work by the local crew he said, underlining that after facilitating several international productions over the last few years, the Jordanian film industry can go toe-to-toe with other film hubs.
“We really have what it takes here locally. We are on par with international crews and we are just waiting for the next opportunity to prove ourselves,” Husseini said.
“Route Irish” a film about a British private security contractor in Iraq, utilised areas within and around Madaba as Baghdad and Baghdad airport road while employing 50 Jordanian film professionals and cast, according to Reem Bandak of International Traders, production coordinator of the film.
“We expect big things for Route Irish – if they get a distinction this will help the country, the crew and raise the profile of the locations in Jordan. We are all proud to be part of it,” she said.
The Kingdom has made “big strides” in its burgeoning film industry, she said, noting that her company has four projects lined up this year.
“We also need to be involved more in the co-production rather than being just a location, to take the next step as an industry,” she said.
In addition to qualified crew and cast, the Cannes contenders are giving audiences and industry leaders a closer look at the Kingdom’s wide variety of attractive locations, according to Sharif Majali, location manager for “Fair Game”.
During the blank days in the Kingdom, Liman shot in Amman and Queen Alia International Airport for scenes that took place in Jordan, transformed the Wadi Al Abyad phosphate mines into a uranium mine, a deserted checkpoint near the Dead Sea into an Iranian checkpoint. But it was the town of Sahab that Liman’s crew latched onto as a perfect fit for Baghdad.
“They just loved Sahab as a location, they loved the looks and it was perfect for a tough scene. They had 45 or 50 vehicles recreating Baghdad traffic near a checkpoint, people were honking, it was chaotic,” he said.
Although he was able to quickly recreate scenes from Iraq, Jordan and Iran, Majali was initially stumped when the producers asked him to find a location to stand in for Niger.
“When they said they were looking for Niger, I didn’t know where to begin. But after I saw photos of Niger online, I knew I had seen a place like that before,” he said.
Majali then took the crew to a location in Wadi Araba, whose arid temperatures and even its vegetation was similar to that of the African country.
“I would like more films to film in Jordan as Jordan. But then again, I think Jordan can stand in for many countries,” he said, underlining that the Kingdom is home to five types of desert terrain, dramatic landscapes from the north to the south.
“All this diversity is perfect to shoot anything. The only thing left is to build a studio, so what we don’t have we could build – that way Jordan would have it all,” he said.
Jordanian filmmaking talent is also on display at Cannes this year, with two Jordanian shorts are being screened at the festival Short Film Corner.
Dareen Sallam, whose film “Still Alive” is being screened along with Zaid Abu Hamdan’s “Baram and Hamza”, said her participation in Cannes has opened “a whole new world”.
Her film, which explores the themes of peace and war through the tale of a man inspired to rebuild his life by a young girl who has lost everything, has opened industry representatives’ eyes to Jordanian filmmakers’ potential.
“They are really surprised to find a filmmaker from Jordan – a lot of people don’t even know where Jordan is,” the 22-year-old director told The Jordan Times from Cannes.
“I am really glad that I came here. I’m learning a lot – there are many events and networking opportunities, it’s very fortunate for my career,” she said.
She underlined the support of the RFC in supporting her career, stressing that for young Jordanians interested in cinema “the possibilities are endless”.
During the film festival, which concludes on May 23, the RFC is hosting a pavilion to raise awareness on filming opportunities in the country, the services and scenery it has to offer. The Palme d’Or will be awarded next week.
For Sallam, no matter the end result in Cannes, this year’s festival represents another step forward for the Jordanian film industry.
“We have big talent in Jordan from locations to actors to crew. But there is something in Jordan that really makes the industry special,” she said.
“We have the passion.”

Amman hosts the legendry show Opera Aida 

On the 25th of June 2010 Amman hosts the legendry show Opera Aida for the international musician Verdi as a first appearance in an Arabic country after Egypt, this show coincides with Egypt celebrations over than 140 years of opening the Suez Canal and in writing Aida for the first time.
  
This huge historical event is organized by Al Rayah Events& in cooperation with Cairo Opera House and this event includes 250 artist from Egypt& 160 artist from Jordan and participates in this historical event which has been performed in 2008 at the sidelines of Beijing Olympics each of Cairo Opera ballet, Cairo Opera choir, Cairo Symphony orchestra, as well as the participation of management tem and technicians to supervise at all the operations to make the performance get out with the best image.
 
According to the organizers of the event the space& the capacity of the roman theater have been studied carefully to make the performance gets out in a magnificent image. From his side Dr. Abdalmunem Kamel the chair man of the Cairo Opera House said that Opera Aida has become one of the most important features distinctive artistic to Egypt after its adoption as an ambassador of the luxury Egyptian arts.
 
Dana Aweineh the marketing manager in Al Rayah Events said that the event will host a lot of VIPs from all over the world and fields, ministers, business men, political, culture and many others, we at Al Rayah is working hard in promoting for   the event.
 
From his side Faris Zeina the event coordinator said that we at Al Rayah proud that we organize this huge historical event in Jordan as the first Arabic country that hosts  this event and the goal from the event is to reflect the unique tourism place that Jordan takes between countries.   

Visit Jordan! News May 2010

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Jordan Tourism Booms in the First Quarter

The first quarter of 2010 heralded good news for Jordan’s tourism sector in what could be another landmark year. Statistics by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the by the Central Bank of Jordan have shown across-the-board increases in both visitor numbers as well as tourism receipts.
The Ministry of Tourism has said overnight tourist numbers have jumped 33.4% during the first quarter to 883,450 people from a total of 662,075 in the same period of 2009. Same day visitors were up 17.6% to 651,325 people from 553,929 in 2009. The Ministry said overall numbers in the first quarter totaled 1,534,802 visitors compared to 1,216,004 in the same period of 2009, and representing a jump of 26.2%.
With the exception of African visitors whose numbers have declined by 5%, all other regions have witnessed increasing numbers particularly from Europe. American visitors increased by 8.7%, Asia-Pacific nationals by 27%, South Asians by 29.4%, Arabs by 20.8%, and Europeans by 35.5%.
Figures by the Central Bank of Jordan have shown that tourism receipts in the first quarter went up by 39.7% to 503 million Jordanian Dinar ($701 million) from 360 million ($501 million) in the same period of 2009 – a increase of $200 million.
Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Managing Director Nayef H. al-Fayez expressed great pleasure at the figures and said “they have given Jordan’s tourism industry a very good reason to keep smiling.” 
Mr. al-Fayez said “while we look forward to a landmark season, we are confident that interest in Jordan as a unique and diversified international destination is increasing across the world.” He added that JTB’s participation in recent exhibitions and road shows “has given us a distinctive look at the increased confidence visitors have in Jordan both as a country and as destination for a trip of a life-time.”
Jordan’s numerous touristic sites have reported increased visitor activity during 2010’s first quarter compared with the same period of 2009. Petra, the Kingdom’s jewel in the crown, saw an almost 50% increase in visitors. However, the biggest attraction was Mount Nebo with an 88% increase, followed by Madaba’s map with a 72% increase. Visitor numbers went up 32.5% in Jerash, 47.4% in Kerak, 41.2% in Ajloun, 45.1% in Um-Qais, 40.3% in Wadi Rum, and 24.3% in the Baptism Site.
Baptism Site officials have said that this is the biggest single increase in visitor numbers since the site was officially opened in 2002. They said April 2010 alone has seen more than 20,100 visitors and pilgrims indicating a growing appetite for the location, as well as for religious tourism as a main component of Jordan’s diverse tourism product.
Tourism officials have said a very good season in 2010 will mean that Jordan’s tourism industry is on track and in the right direction, particularly after avoiding impact of the global economic crisis which started in 2008.
Jordan has faired quite well in 2009 despite the difficult times witnessed by the global tourism industry, which included both the global financial crisis as well as the H1N1 virus pandemic. Tourism revenues remained almost unchanged at JD2.064 billion (around $3 billion) compared with 2.089 in 2008, while overnight visitor numbers increased by 1.6% in 2008.
Al-Fayez said for a small country like Jordan, maintaining 2008 figures was a great achievement. “Now we can focus on making 2010 another exceptional year,” he concluded.

Petra visitor numbers up 50%

(Ameinfo.com)

Jordan’s Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) has said that the numbers of tourists visiting Petra had witnessed a “progressive increase” over the past three months, rising by 50% in the first quarter of 2010, Jordan Times has reported. The numbers of foreign tourists increased by 53%, while Jordanian visitors rose by 23%, PDTRA chief commissioner, Nasser Shraideh said. From January through March, around 210,000 local residents and foreigners visited the city, up from 140,000 during the same period in 2009, he said.

Queen Rania’s US Press Tour
rania 
On Friday, April 21 Her Majesty Queen Rania was the premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey’s OPRAH LIVE show. Her Majesty spoke on her life as Queen of Jordan, especially her love and appreciation of the vast diversity of beauty in her land. Touted by Oprah as a modern monarch, the Queen also talked about being in touch with the community via social media networks like Facebook & Twitter, where she has over 1 .5 million followers!
 
Queen Rania also shared images of a recent trip to Jordan made by such celebrities as Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban & Hugh Jackman where they are enjoying the wonders of Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum & Aqaba. To see the slide show please visit:
 
http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Queen-Ranias-Tour-of-Jordan
Queen Rania then spoke with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, followed by an appearance on The View to discuss her new children’s book, “The Sandwich Swap”. The Sandwich Swap is meant to teach children not fear diversity and to appreciate other cultures.

The Wild Side of Jordan guideFollow Peter Potterfield, aGreatOutdoors.com editor,

on his epic- 50 mile backcountry

 journey through the

mountains of Jordan!

“One of the most interesting routes in the Middle East, the hike starts from Jordan’s wild Dana Reserve and follows a rugged wilderness to the country’s crown jewel-Petra. This is a journey made entirely on foot, day by day, hour by hour, staying in traditional Bedouin camps, savoring the Jordan countryside at a walking pace, having the time to appreciate this unique landscape.”

Potterfield will make the trek with noted Jordanian backcountry traveler and guide Yamaan Safady, and the pair will be accompanied by Jordan Tourism Board videographer Catherine Porterfield. The expedition is sponsored jointly by ExOfficio,  the premiere clothing company for outdoor & travel enthusiasts & Wildland Adventures, a U.S. Tour Operator who creates authentic worldwide explorations for active and inquisitive travelers.

The hike is currently underway and the full story will appear in early summer.

To read Peter’s preview piece please visit:

http://www.greatoutdoors.com/published/coming-up-the-wild-side-of-jordan

Bethany Beyond the Jordan Reclaims Spot on Holy Land Pilgrim Map
Jordan attracts 24% more U.S. visitors to Baptism Site in First Quarter 2010; Tour Companies Say Numbers Mark Turning Point in Faith-Based Travel to Jordan
 

The rustic, eco-protected  settlement on the eastern banks of the Jordan River known as “Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan” – where the Bible says Jesus came to be baptized by his cousin John – is fast becoming a must-see destination for faith-based travelers and general tourists alike to the Holy Land. In 2010, 24% more American tourists visited the baptism site during January-March than during the same period last year, and travel suppliers are reporting increased interest and demand for the site from Christian travel planners and consumers.
 
“We have worked hand in hand with our suppliers to promote this unique location and educate religious travel planners about how to build it into all of their Holy Land travel programs,” said Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board North America. “Now that the site is fully open and travelers have easy access, it is only natural that this authentic location is once again returning to its place of prominence on the Holy Land map.”
 
Asfour views faith-based travel as one of the primary niches for Jordan tourism. She has been working since 1997 to promote the destination of Jordan to the North American travel market, and decided early on that Jordan needed a re-branding in the religious sector in order to educate and re-introduce the kingdom’s biblical sites and experiences to prospective travelers. With Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan at number one on the list of must-see biblical locations in Jordan, the rising tide of visitors to the site should lift faith-based travel to other parts of Jordan.
 
“It’s a case of what was old is new again,” said Christine Moore, founder of Epiphany Media, who has spent a decade representing the Jordan Tourism Board to the religious community in North America. “More Americans are simply returning to the original pilgrim route taken by the early Christians, who would visit the place of baptism between their journeys to Mount Nebo and Jerusalem.  Today, faith-based travelers can have the same authentic experience that the original pilgrims had, and also enjoy adventures and experiences at Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and so many other locations in Jordan.”
 
The authenticity, simplicity and eco-protected nature of the site means it is here to stay on the pilgrim map. And more and more faith-based travel suppliers are recognizing that the practice of taking Christian groups to other locations on the Jordan River does not hold the same meaning for their clients as visiting the special area where John the Baptist lived, preached and baptized his cousin.
 
Nick Mancino, president of Group IST, who operates Regina Tours for the Catholic market and Journeys Unlimited for the Protestant market, said he has experienced increased demand across the board for the Baptism Site. And Rick Ricart, president of Imagine Tours & Travel, whose father promoted Jordan as a religious travel destination as far back as the 1970’s, said he has had one of his busiest seasons ever for travel to Jordan. Ricart said the baptism site is becoming more popular among his clients, as word has spread about its excavations and accessibility.
 
“I used to feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness myself when trying to promote the baptism site or other holy places in Jordan,” said Ricart. “But we have prepared the way, and now more travel leaders are aware of the opportunities in Jordan, and want to give their groups a chance to experience Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan and other special places, as well as sample some of that famous Jordanian hospitality.”
 
Additional Information:
 
Church/Visitor Facilities
An area of 350,000 square miles of land has been set aside for the pilgrim village just outside the baptism site reserve, which has strict environmental protection bylaws. 

Many Christian denominations have begun building new churches and facilities/guest houses nearby in a “pilgrim village” to facilitate modern pilgrims to what has been called the “Birthplace of Christianity.” Churches and facilities in existence or in the works include these traditions: Greek Orthodox; Anglican; Baptist; Catholic; Coptic and Russian Orthodox.

In March, 2009, Baptist World Alliance (BWA) officials, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammed of Jordan joined officials from around the world to dedicate a new Baptism Center. “I think believers from many parts of the world who want to make a pilgrimage to the area where Jesus was baptized will certainly want to make their own pilgrimage here,” said BWA President David Coffey.

In May, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the cornerstones of two new Catholic churches being built with these words: “Let us rejoice in the knowledge that the two buildings, one Latin, the other Greek Melkite, will serve to build up, each according to the traditions of its own community, the one family of God.”

Rupert Murdoch’s youngest daughters were baptized at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan in March, 2010, but you don’t have to be famous to hold a ceremony at the baptism site – park officials welcome all church groups and other visitors interested in holding special ceremonies, such as baptisms or communion, and these are easily arranged through tour operators.

 
Park Oversight and Planning
The Baptism Site is a legally protected National Jordanian Park run by an independent board of trustees – the Baptism Site Commission – appointed personally by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan, who considers its maintenance an honor and a sacred trust for future generations of Jordanians and Christian pilgrims from all over the world. For more information, please visit www.baptismsite.com.

While several hundred thousand people visit the park each year, Baptism Site Commission officials expect to receive more than a million visitors a year once all churches and guest facilities are complete.

The baptism site is close to Amman and the Dead Sea resort and hotel area, which is served by several 4- and 5-star hotels. Planning is underway to build 3-star hotels on the northeastern shores of the Dead Sea.

 
Biblical Background:
Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan is part of the wilderness area associated with John the Baptist and also contains the traditional spot where the Bible says Elijah the prophet ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire.

While Jordan is home to hundreds of biblical locations, some of the most pivotal biblical events occurred at these sites:

Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the land he would never enter and, according to the Bible, is buried nearby in an unknown location; Mukawir, a mountaintop fortress not far from the Dead Sea where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded; Tel Mar Elias, the birthplace of the prophet Elijah (also known as Elijah the Tishbite), located among the ancient Hills of Gilead;Umm Qais, a Roman provincial town overlooking the Sea of Galilee where the miracle of the Gadarene swine took place; Jabbok River, where Jacob wrested with “the Angel,” and his name was changed to Israel, meaning “He who wrestles with God.”

.

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Jordan-U.S. Investment and Trade Forum to take place inWashington, D.C. and San Francisco, California

Under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the Economic and Commerce Bureau of the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and The Jordan Investment Board, along with the cooperation of  the U.S.-Jordan Business Alliance and Business Council for International Understanding are organizing the Jordan-U.S. Investment and Trade Forum in Washington, D.C. on April 19th and in San Francisco, California on April 21, 2010.

This Forum will provide an opportunity for Jordanian and American private sector leaders as well as senior government officials from both countries to explore investment and commercial opportunities between the two countries. The agenda also features breakout sessions on cutting-edge topics such as Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Renewable Energy & Developing Green Technologies, Financial Services, Biotechnology, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, and Manufacturing and Logistics.The panels themselves are designed to be interactive and will cover several facets of selected sectors including a brief overview of the featured sector, opportunities, risk mitigation programs, financing options, and success stories.

The event will also mark the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Jordanian diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of signing the Free Trade Agreement. This multi-city event will provide an unparalleled opportunity for exposure, networking and doing business in Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa region.

Conference highlights include:

· Presentations on cutting-edge sectors (ICT, energy, healthcare,  manufacturing, logistics, financial services, infrastructure)

· Views from ministers and other senior officials

· Pre-scheduled one-on-one meeting opportunities with members of the Jordanian delegation

· Networking sessions with senior officials and senior Jordanian private sector executives

To learn more about the Forum and to register for this event, please contact:

Embassy of Jordan, Economic & Commerce Bureau

Email: jordanforum@jordanembassyus.org Website: www.jordanusforum.org

The Business Council for International Understanding

Email:j-donald@bciu.org

Website: www.bciu.org/JordanForum

Archaeological Institute of America Hosts Annual Gala April 28, 2010

The 2nd Annual AIA Gala will be held at Guastavino’s, a premier event space situated in the historic arcade underneath the 59th Street Bridge, on April 28th, 2010 in New York City. The event will honor Martha and Artemis Joukowsky with the Bandelier Award for Service to Archaeology, including their significant contributions to many archaeological sites in Jordan.  Dr. Martha Sharp Joukowsky has directed the Brown University excavations of the Great Temple at Petra since 1992 and has an eminent career spanning over three decades involving archaeological research in the Middle East. Likewise, Mr. Artemis A.W. Joukowsky has had an extensive record of support for a variety of archaeological endeavors in Jordan including Chairman of the Board of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman. The Archaeological Institute of America is delighted to present both guests with the Bandelier Award for Service to Archaeology at their April Gala. 

 

Along with honoring the achievements of the Joukowskys, the Archaeological Institute of America will also like to shine the spotlight on Jordan to celebrate both the country’s ancient culture and the vibrancy of today.  Both HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan and HRH Prince Zeid Al-Hussein have also agreed to serve as Honorary Chairs of the Gala.

 

The Archaeological Institute of America promotes a vivid and informed public interest in the cultures and civilizations of the past, supports archaeological research, fosters the sound professional practice of archaeology, advocates for the preservation of the world’s archaeological heritage, and represents the discipline in the wider world. For more information or to register for this event, please visit http://www.archaeological.org/gala/

Baptism Site Already Sees an Increase in Visitors for 2010 

The Baptism Site has witnessed an increase in the number of visitors during the past two months, compared with the same period of last year. Around 17,386 visitors and Christian pilgrims came to the site in January and February this year, compared with 12,692 last year. Baptism Site Commission Director Dia Madani told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Wednesday that a majority of the visitors were Europeans (56 per cent), mainly from Italy, Germany, France and Spain, followed by North and South America (19 percent) and the Far East (11 percent). About 5 per cent of the visitors came from the Arab world while 9 per cent were residents of Jordan. In addition, in January around 25,000 Christian pilgrims celebrated Epiphany and Theophany at the site, where John the Baptist lived and preached and where Jesus Christ was baptised.

For information on traveling to the Baptism Site, please visit:

http://www.baptismsite.com/

Jordan’s Zumont & Co. Celebrates the Addition of Five New Varietals to Their Collection of Wines by May 2010

Bulos Zumot and Co. has more than 50 years of experience in the Jordanian wine and spirits market. During this time, it has gained a solid reputation for quality, innovation and service.

Established in 1954, the company positions itself as one of Jordan’s top wine distributors, aiming to seek a continuous growth in their family of brands, while producing quality products that could compete with the best wines of today.

In 1998, the company established the “Petra Winery”, producing a variety of wines in three different vineyards. Petra Winery also was a pioneer in the wine industry, becoming the first company to own and manage its own vineyards.

Today, the company is growing 30 different types of wines, with Saint George as its most celebrated brand. Sold in all of the county’s finest hotels and gourmet establishments, this wine is enjoying the reputation of being one of Jordan’s best wines in the market.

For more information please visit:

http://www.zumot-wines.com/index.php

News from Jordan. March 2010 issue

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Jordanians Thanked by Hurt Locker Director for Hospitality

 

As Jordan becomes a premier destination for Hollywood film makers with movies such as Transformers 2 and Hurt Locker, more and more directors are taking notice of this unique destination. And while Jordan asserts itself as the ideal backdrop for blockbuster movies, film crews are subjected to another one of Jordan’s many appealing aspects: the hospitality of its people. 

Below is a testimony to Jordanian hospitality as mentioned by Hurt Locker’s director, Kathryn Bigelow during her Oscar-winning speech.   

Kathryn Bigelow Speech

Jordan Travel Mart 2010 a Success

On February 21-23, 2010, over 100 Travel professionals from North and South America met with their Jordanian counterpart at the Third Annual Jordan Travel Mart in the Dead Sea. Media personnel from the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Jordan were also in attendance covering this three day event with Albert Herrera, Vice President of Hotels, Destinations, and Tours at Virtuoso, as well as Phil Otterson, President of the American Tourism Society as keynote speakers.

Pre-scheduled one-on-one appointments between travel specialists along with workshops and presentations from the Airport International Group, led by CEO Curtis Grad, as well as Performance Media Group and Baxter Travel Media, were some of the highlights of the event.

The Marriot Jordan Valley Dead Sea and Spa hosted the opening dinner with a Bedouin-style reception. The subsequent dinners took place at the Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea and Movenpick Dead Sea, each boasting their own unique themes.  
During the event itself, Jordanian officials were on hand to meet with the delegates. Among them were Senator Akel Biltaji, Mr. Nayef al-Fayez, Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, and HE Mrs. Maha al-Khatib, Minister of Tourism, who spoke at the opening breakfast, highlighting the different niche markets of the country while mentioning its diversity and uniqueness.

The Jordan Tourism Board, North America would like to thank all the trade organizations as well as media personnel who made this event a great success.Jordan is a land of diversity that is inviting to every type of traveler, and because of the efforts of such people, more and more travelers are becoming aware of this unique destination

VP Biden Visits Petra  (Jordan Times)

US Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife Jill visited the Nabataean city of Petra on March 12, 2010. Earlier in the day, he met with civil society representatives to discuss preparations for the upcoming elections and ongoing domestic reforms, according to a US embassy statement. Biden, who met with His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday, concluded his two-day visit to Jordan by stopping at Petra before departing to Washington, the statement said.

Marriot International to Add Fourth Hotel in Jordan in Aqaba
264-room JW Marriott Hotel Aqaba to open in 2013;
Will be first luxury JW Marriott-branded property in Jordan 

Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) will open its first luxury JW Marriott hotel and fourth branded hotel in Jordan in 2013 in Aqaba under a recently-concluded agreement with Beaches for Hotels & Spas P.S.C., an affiliate of long-time Jordanian partner, Arab International Hotels Co.,  led by Chairman of the Board Nadim Muasher. 

The 264-room JW Marriott Hotel Aqaba will be ideally situated on the northern beach of the Gulf of Aqaba immediately adjacent to the Aqaba Marina, creating a unique destination that connects the city and the sea. The site is located in the center of Aqaba and fronts onto a public beach on the Gulf and provides easy access to prized tourism destinations like Petra and Wadi Rum and all offshore reefs and water sports for which the Red Sea is famous. Aqaba International Airport is 10 minutes away. 

The stylish, contemporary JW Marriott Hotel Aqaba will complement its exterior environs with public areas that offer space, light and excitement. It will feature a wide range of food & beverage offerings, including an informal, vibrant lobby lounge; a pool bar with a covered terrace; an all-day casual restaurant; a specialty steak outlet; a restaurant connected to the marina and a Champions sports bar. 

Accommodations will be spacious and will offer the latest in modern guest services and amenities including wi-fi, flat screen television, internet access and other electronic capabilities. 

For recreation, the hotel will have an exceptional state-of-the-art health and leisure club that will incorporate a spa and a gymnasium featuring a yoga room, Turkish bath, indoor and outdoor swimming pool and a children’s play center. 

Guests will appreciate its executive lounge, book shop and business center. Other amenities include a spa shop, a gift shop and 12 additional retail outlets. 

Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis to Hit the Streets Soon  (zawya.com)

AMMAN — Persons with disabilities across the country will be able to get around in wheelchair-friendly taxis under a project being implemented by the Public Transport Regulatory Commission (PTRC). “The commission carried out a study last year on the taxi needs of six governorates,” PTRC Director General Jamil Mjahed told The Jordan Times yesterday, adding that the findings revealed an insufficient number of cabs in the Irbid, Zarqa, Jerash, Karak, Maan and Ajloun governorates.

He indicated that last week the PTRC called on investors to operate 50 additional taxis in each taxi office in the concerned governorates and allocate “some” cabs to serve the needs of wheelchair-bound customers.

“People with movement impairments in Jordan have difficulties in taking taxis… the commission is looking to make taxis wheelchair accessible to serve this segment of society,” Mjahed said, indicating that the move, if implemented, will be the first in the region.

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News from Jordan Tourism. Feb 2010

 

 

 

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Admission Price Changes to Petra Archaeological Park                          As custodians of this world heritage site, the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority has embarked on an aggressive plan to develop the Petra Archeological Park. As a result, visitors will be able to enjoy  new and improved services and facilities inside the park, as well as contribute to the conservation and preservation of this precious site, while improving the livelihoods of local communities.

For a complete breakdown of the increase, please click on the link below:

 NEW ENTRANCE FEES TO PETRA

Ticket holders are ensured access to Petra, brochures and maps, a horse ride from the gate to the Siq, access to the museum, as well as restroom facilities.  Scheduled guided services are also available in English and Arabic for individual tourists  every half hour from 7:00 am until 3:00 pm. Note: Starting November 1, 2010 the full admission rate will entitle tourists and day-visitors to enjoy free access to additional hospitality and bilingual services, a back road eco-transport system, rest area and information stations, and a user-friendly ticketing system.

Increasing Voluntourism Opportunities in Jordan Supported by the EU/ Jordan Service Modernization Program (JSMP)/ JEDCO, The Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) is pleased to offer the Increasing of Voluntourism Opportunities in Jordan Project to all tourism stakeholders in Jordan.

Voluntourism is the combination of voluntary service to a destination with the customary essentials of travel and tourism.  Voluntourism combines sightseeing with doing good for a local community. Voluntourism.org defines Voluntourism as: a conscious, seamlessly integrated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, traditional elements of travel- arts, culture, geography, history and recreation in that destination.

 

The economic crisis is affecting everyone-including Jordan.  One way to combat the crisis and the cancellations of some tours is to develop new products and packages that appeal to a growing market – travelers who want to volunteer or voluntourists. For more details click here  

Feynan Ecolodge Partnership with EcoHotels Marks a New Era for RSCN’s Eco-Tourism Strategy

AMMAN, Jordan -The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) has entered into a partnership with private sector company EcoHotels to further develop and improve the services in Feynan Ecolodge, selected by National Geographic Adventure Magazine as one of the top 50 ecolodges in the world. By attracting more visitors through EcoHotels’s expertise in eco-friendly hotel operations, sales and marketing, this new partnership is an opportunity to further the RSCN’s goals of nature conservation while promoting socio-economic development for the communities living near Dana Biosphere Reserve. The RSCN maintains ownership of the ecolodge, while all management and operational activities are now handled by EcoHotels. This collaboration is a first in the Kingdom and probably in the region.

The Director of RSCN, Chris Johnson remarked, “Private sector partnerships, like the one for Feynan Ecolodge, take a management burden from RSCN’s shoulders and give us more time to devote to our core work of conserving biodiversity in Jordan. We are, after all, a conservation organization, not a tourism organization and we have developed eco-tourism as a tool to help us protect nature. We feel that private sector partners, who are better qualified to operate tourism enterprises, can help us make this tool more effective.”
EcoHotels Managing Director Nabil Tarazi announced that, “EcoHotels is proud to build upon the exceptional foundation that RSCN laid at Feynan with an improved visitor offering and service, nourishing deeper relationships with local communities and generating revenue for the conservation of Dana Biosphere Reserve.”

During the month of August a team from RSCN and EcoHotels completed renovations and hosted service training sessions led by hospitality leaders for the staff at Feynan. “Feynan reopened in September and has received exceptional feedback from regular clients and new visitors alike,” commented Tarazi. “The majority of clients at Feynan have long been internationals, but we would also like to welcome the Jordanian community to discover the treasure they have in their own backyard,” Tarazi added. Feynan has 26 rooms with a capacity to accommodate 58 guests. Feynan has recently experienced an increase in the amount overnight stays from September through December.

Chris Johnson noted the RSCN’s long term vision “is to develop more private sector partnerships for our eco-tourism enterprises, not just in terms of operational management but also in terms of investment opportunities. In strategic terms we see these partnerships as a progressive and sustainable way of meeting our fundamental mission of integrating nature conservation with socio-economic development.”

Hailed as one of the top 50 ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Feynan provides an adventurous, enchanting escape into the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The solar powered lodge is lit exclusively by candles and stars by night, with 26 en-suite rooms boasting unique arabesque designs. Feynan features regional vegetarian dishes made from local ingredients.  Guests can be found hiking or biking across diverse landscapes, encountering Bedouin, and exploring archaeological sites including some of the world’s oldest copper mines.

www.feynan.com