Category Archives: Middle East

What’s New in Dubai. January 2013 News!

Tourism Trends, New Developments and Holiday Experiences

January 24, 2013 (Dubai, UAE) — Dubai has made strides in the tourism and travel industry by positioning itself as a luxurious tourist destination as well as a vibrant international business center. There has been a 9.3% growth in tourism from the US alone and surpassed 500,000 USA hotel visitors for the first time ever at 506,019. Dubai will be starting 2013 on a high note. Here is a look at what’s new and in store for Dubai in the New Year.

What’s New


JW Marriott Marquis Hosts First Phase of Openings

The JW Marriott Marquis has celebrated the first phase of opening its doors to the public. The luxurious 5-star hotel began welcoming its first guests at the end of November with the opening of the first tower of 804 rooms and three out of its nine restaurants. The Marquis has been recognized as the world’s tallest hotel, just short of the Empire State Building in New York City and is touted as Dubai’s latest top venue for meetings and incentives. First guests included Tommaso Bendoni of GlobeSoccer who will host their exclusive annual event at the Marquis, as well as Fadi Deek who is the Director for Boeing IT Middle East and Africa. By January 2013 the Marquis hopes to have all nine restaurants, five bars and lounges open. The official grand opening of the hotel is set for February of next year.

Dubai Announces New Mohammed Bin Rashid City Project

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, recently unveiled plans for the new Mohammed Bin Rashid City. The city will include a massive park with the capacity to welcome 35 million people. It will also host the largest family center for leisure and entertainment in the area in collaboration with Universal Studios, as well as 100 new hotels. A city known for its “largest” accolades, the Mohammed Bin Rashid City is receiving a lot of buzz for the inclusion of the world’s largest mall which would be able to accommodate 80 million shoppers a year. The additions will be built between Emirates, Al Khail and Sheikh Zayed Roads, with development of the city set to begin immediately.

Launch of Zagat Dubai City Guide

On December 10, 2012 Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in conjunction with Zagat guides hosted an event at the Jimmy at the James Hotel in SoHo to launch the new Zagat Dubai City Guide. In attendance were Mr. and Mrs. Tim and Nina Zagat and Mr. Hamad Mohammed Bin Mejren, Executive Director of Business Tourism, who spoke on behalf of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The new City Guide includes Dubai’s most popular categories in dining, nightlife, shopping, sights and attractions. 5,751 individuals were surveyed on their preference of 484 restaurants, 71 nightspots, 527 shops and 37 sights and attractions. The rankings assigned in all of Zagat’s publications are based on public opinion surveys which reflect average scores given to each establishment by the survey participants. The new guide is available for purchase on Zagat’s website. Zagat Guides are available to members of the media upon request.

10th Anniversary of Dubai Convention Bureau

The Dubai Convention Bureau will celebrate its 10th anniversary in March 2013. The Bureau will begin the year on a high note, hosting the Conference on International Telecommunications, the Global Standards Symposium and The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly, all before 2013 with an estimated attendance of 11,000. For next year, Dubai Convention Bureau will be going through a rebranding process just shy of the celebration of the 10 year anniversary.

Port Rashid Complex to Accommodate Five Cruise Ships Simultaneously

By the end of 2013 Dubai’s Port Rashid Complex will complete a 27,000 square meters addition to its cruise port. The port is said to be comparable to that of Miami, Florida’s cruise port that accommodates a number of different cruise lines. This is a major business opportunity for Dubai because it will help grow its economy and encourage cruise lines to visit their luxurious destination. The new development will also increase the tourism industry’s long term goals. The Port Rashid complex was originally opened in August 2010 with the ability to host four ships simultaneously.

UAE Submits Bid for 2020 World Expo in Dubai

The UAE’s Ambassador to France has officially put in a bid for Dubai to be the host of the 2020 World Expo. The 600 page proposal the Ambassador submitted includes plans for their theme, “Connecting Minds, Connecting Futures,” as well as the cost and environmental impact of hosting the event. Dubai is competing against Ayutthaya (Thailand), Ekaterinburg (Russia), Izmir (Turkey), and Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Emirates Unveils New Flight to Phuket

Emirates Airlines revealed a new non-stop flight to Phuket, Thailand. This daily service to Phuket makes it the airline’s 128th destination. Connecting with Emirates will increase the city’s international flight capacity and connect it with Emirates’ growing network throughout the globe. The airline had previously connected with seven US Destinations to reach access to six different continents. Emirates’ new flight also shows its commitment to Thailand; a country whom they’ve been flying to since 1990.

Vogue Café Opens Location in Dubai Mall

The opening of the new Vogue Café shows Condé Nast International’s commitment to expand its media brands to restaurants and bars around the world. The café displays the diversity of Dubai’s shops and restaurants demonstrating again that the city is a key market for international luxury brands.

Upcoming Events in 2013

Dubai Shopping Festival

Each winter the Dubai Shopping Festival takes place with a wide array of discounts, competitions, prizes and entertainment. The festival attracts individuals from around the world who thrill at the idea of a bargain. The festival is in full swing and will continue until February 3, 2013.

Third Annual SIKKA Art Fair Set for March 2013

Submissions have begun for the 2013 SIKKA Art Fair. The fair will include a visual arts program of entirely commissioned new work from Emerati and UAE-based artists. This year’s event will also include film, music and performing arts in addition to the visual artwork. Individuals interested in participating in the event may submit their proposals to SIKKA’s website at

Dubai World Cup 2013

The Dubai World Cup Carnival has officially kicked off, showcasing some of the world’s most prized thoroughbreds. The events leading up to this “Super Saturday,” on March 9th, officially began on January 10th. This event is an opportunity for racing’s biggest international players to prepare their horses for the chance to compete in the world’s richest day of racing, and one of the city’s biggest days out, the Dubai World Cup. The Dubai World Cup, the main event, will take place this year on Saturday, March 30th, 2013. Families, general public, retailers and corporations are all welcome to attend at the Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse. This year will mark the 18th edition of the world’s biggest racing day.

Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa to Open in September!

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is excited to announce its first hotel in Dubai – Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa, to open in September of this year. Designed to reflect the brand’s Asian heritage, the luxurious new five star resorts is located on the crescent of Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah and will bring Anantara’s experience and discovery-lead hospitality to the vibrant Dubai market. With 130 guest rooms featuring direct access to 11,000 square metres of lagoon pools, 12 Beach Villas, 18 Over Water Villas and three highly exclusive Royal Beach Villas, the resort will have an indulgent and exotic feel. Impressive facilities will include a private beach, three natural lagoons, water sports, a shoreline infinity pool, an Anantara Spa with 12 treatment rooms, a fitness studio and two tennis courts.

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, please visit

What’s New in Dubai. October 2012 news

Emirates Launches New Service
As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Emirates has added another gateway city in the US as it begins non-stop service from Washington DC to Dubai this month. Washington DC is Emirates’ 11th new route to launch in 2012. “We look forward to connecting DC travelers with the largest number of one-stop flights to Southeast Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East using state-of-the-art American built aircrafts,” said Nigel Page, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations- The Americas. Emirates will operate the American-manufactured Boeing 777-300 ED on its Washington DC tour, providing suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 304 seats in Coach. Emirates is a leading innovator in the airline industry globally and was recognized by Air Transport World as its “2011 Airline of the Year.”

Major World Conferences to be held in Dubai
This year Dubai will be hosting The World Conference on International Telecommunications, the Global Standards Symposium and The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly, with a total number of delegates expected to be over 11,000. In 2011 Dubai hosted 34 international association meetings, not taking into account corporate meetings, incentives and exhibitions. The International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) ranked Dubai as first in the Middle East and as one of the major international meeting destinations globally, with Dubai surfacing as a top contender amongst well established meetings destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Melbourne. In 2013 the Emirate will host the Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Pain, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Congress & Exhibition, and the International Destination Expo 2013.

Dubai International Dance Festival
Dubai International Dance Festival (DIDF) will take place Wednesday October 17th through October 20th. The event, which is set to be bigger than ever this year, will include more than 400 renowned and professional dancers from 40 countries around the globe preparing to take to the floor. “When the Dance Festival started in 2007, we started with 50 dancers. Now we have over 400 dancers, you can see how we grow every year. This shows the huge appetite of the people for dance in the region,” Chris D., co-founder and co-director of DIDF, said. Guests and participants will enjoy a variety of performances, live entertainment, themed dance parties, dance competitions, workshops, and guest DJs. Main performances will take place at the grand venue in DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates.

International Zouk Flash Mob Day was a hit!
Sunday, September 16th was International Zouk Flash Mob Day, a global event encouraging people around the world to get together to dance the same choreography. Dubai took part in the event at the Savage Garden in the Capital Hotel, Satwa. Zouk Flash Mob Day is a non-commercial initiative originating from Perth Australia to promote this beautif
ul modern dance all around the world. Several thousand people in over 35 countries participated. View their video here or visit

Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Welcomes New GM as Renovations Continue
Pullman Deira City Centre Dubai, formerly The City Centre Hotel, welcomes their new General Manager Mr. Jean-Phillipe Bittencourt who will spearhead the property’s new brand identity. The first stage of the rebranding is slated for completion during the 3rd quarter of 2012 when the hotel will officially become a Pullman Hotel, Accor’s upscale brand. The new hotel will include 317 rooms, 4 food and beverage outlets including Le Cafe at the lobby lounge, Medley, the hotel’s signature restaurant and La Fabrique, a trendy Sports Bar, a Spa and Fitness Area. The hotel’s banqueting and meeting rooms alongside the Business Centre will be integrated during the 2nd phase of its re-branding, marking a turning point for the hotel and its new identity.

Shiba Restaurant introduces a speedy business lunch
Shiba Resturant, located at
The Meydan Hotel, is the home of authentic Asian cuisine. Shiba recently launched a new business lunch with express set menu options. Shiba’s food captures the heritage and vibrancy of Asia together with some of their own innovation and modern cooking techniques.

Winter Events and Upcoming Attractions

Dubai Shopping Festival to Bring Fabulous Prizes and More!
Dubai is known as “the shopping capital of the Middle East.” This year marks the Dubai Shopping Festival’s 18th year. The festival, which takes place between January 3 and February 3, will take over the city with its unique blend of shopping, and entertainment. The festival will kick off with a huge opening night that features light shows and fireworks across the Dubai Creek, which are then continued throughout the entire festival. In addition to the shopping and prizes, hundreds of events and activities await residents and visitors. From international concerts, musicals and shows, to sports, outdoor, and fashion events, Dubai Shopping Festival caters to every age segment.

Burj Khalifa New Year’s Eve Fireworks
The firework show that was claimed ‘the best in the world’ last New Year’s returns again to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Last year Dubai set the record for the highest fireworks in the world. The show can be seen from a distance of 10km and will include sound, lights, laser, music and, of course, the grand finale, the fireworks. To view last year’s spectacular click here.

InterContinental Dubai Marina set to open in 2013
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has signed an agreement with Dubai-based property developer Select Group to open InterContinental Dubai Marina. The Marina is a wonderland on water providing guests the best of both worlds, an urban lifestyle with a scenic view. The hotel, which is set to open by the end of 2013, will offer 132 hotel rooms and 196 InterContinental Residential Suites for longer staying guests. The hotel will be located within walking distance of the popular Jumeirah Beach Residences’ (JBR) and contain spectacular views overlooking the Marina. The hotel will also be home to eight food and beverage outlets, including restaurants, bars and a 600 meter squared night club. For the business traveler the hotel will offer a suite of facilities, including a boardroom and eight meeting rooms, the largest of which will accommodate 100 people.

McGettigan’s Irish Pubs expands in Dubai!
Ring in the New Year at McGettigan’s Irish Pub. The authentic Irish pub will be adding two new locations in Dubai. McGettigans offers guests a traditional Irish experience through food and drink in a modern yet humble environment. The pub first opened its doors in November of 2010 in the Jumeriah Lake Towers. The first new branch, located downtown in the World Trade Centre, will most likely open by the end of the month. The third venue is set to open at The Dubai Airport.


What’s New in Dubai. Summer 2012 news

Tourism Trends, New Developments and Ramadan Experiences
July 11, 2011 (Dubai, UAE) ? Dubai?s ideal positioning, luxurious hotels, prestigious business locales and pristine shopping centers have allowed it to establish itself as one of the world?s most elite travel destinations. Today, Dubai is steadily growing as an oasis for vacationers seeking a unique cultural experience.

?With all of the luxury amenities and family packages in an ideal location, Dubai is a culturally-rich hub for both business travelers and families seeking comfort and a unique experience? said Alba Hotchkiss, U.S. Director of the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

?Dubai has already positioned itself as a luxury vacation spot for business travelers and culturally-curious travelers, but with new developments aimed towards family entertainment, Dubai is becoming more and more a unique getaway for people of all ages and backgrounds,? Hotchkiss added.

Dubai?s Upward Tourism Trend and Increased Air Access

2011 Saw a Promising Increase in Travel to Dubai

Dubai is the trade and tourism gateway of the Arabian Sea. In 2011 global traffic to Dubai grew 9.6% to just over 9 million visitors (9,095,570), with 5.6% and over 462,653 travelers hailing from the United States. The steady 5%-10% growth in USA visitors is establishing Dubai as more than just a stopover destination for travelers cruising through the Middle East, but a popular hub that attracts visitors for longer stays as well. After the first quarter of 2012, the United States stands in fourth place as a source market for travel to Dubai — a 7.5% increase from last year?s first quarter.

Emirates Expands Services Stretching Dubai Market across the US

Emirates will expand its number of non-stop flights in the United States in September 2012 when it begins service to Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. In January 2013, an already successful daily service from New York City?s John F. Kennedy International Airport will be expanded by changing aircraft to the larger A-380, to service the growing and diverse market of business and consumer travel to Dubai in this area. The expansion of service follows the start of two new flight routes with direct service out of Dallas/Fort Worth and Seattle/Tacoma international airports in Q1 of 2012.

What?s New

Cooking Class Celebrates Diversity of Dubai

Just a few months after its grand opening in January 2012, the five-star Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai has launched a new cooking class at Icho, the hotel?s upscale Japanese restaurant. Lead by classically trained Japanese teppan chefs, the three-hour class will teach guests how to cook the traditional Japanese teppan art of cuisine using local seafood from the Arabian Gulf. The class starts at approximately US$110 (400 AED) and includes a five-course lunch with wine and saké pairings.

Cruise Liner Queen Elizabeth 2 to Become Dubai Hotel

After years of being docked, the celebrated Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) will once again serve tourists and guests when it is converted to a floating hotel in downtown Port Rashid. Developers have finally settled on a use for the ship after it first arrived in Dubai in November 2008. Having shelved previous plans to gut the ship, relocate it and remodel it into a luxury hotel, developers have decided to keep the original furnishings and 300-room layout because tourists wanted to see the famed ship in its original décor. With no major renovations, the QE2 is set to open in 18 months. Developers also plan to build a maritime museum and expand the cruise ship terminal to accommodate the influx of guests. The ship was originally commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II and sailed its first voyage in 1969. Since then, it has sailed around the world 26 times.

Golf Clubs Enjoy Record Business

In March 2012, UAE?s premier golf clubs hosted a first-time record of over 50,000 rounds total at its various locations. A total of 54,365 rounds were played during the month of March, with 14% coming from overseas visitors. Driven by luxury courses and elite international tournaments, the March record is a testament to the firm presence of elite golf in the area and the mounting interest of foreign markets in visiting UAE as a top tier Golf destination for seasoned players. UAE?s premier golf clubs include Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, The Montgomerie Dubai, Arabian Ranches, the Els Club Dubai, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Al Hamra Golf Club, Saadiyat, Yas Links, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa and Jumeirah Golf Estates.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai to be World?s Tallest Hotel

At the end of 2012, JW Marriot Marquis will open in Dubai the world?s tallest hotel, serving luxury business travelers, and becoming a new superlative landmark for this thriving global business hub. Opening in Q4 of 2012, JW Marriot Marquis in Dubai will join Marriott International?s luxury portfolio, which offers distinctive properties in more than 50 gateway cities and resort locations around the world. The hotel will be a symbol of Dubai?s increasing importance as the high-performing center of business in the region and worldwide. The 1,164-foot tall, 1,608-room world-class luxury hotel will target the profitable MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market, with the United States being one of the key sources. For the first time in Dubai, groups of up to 1,000 people can meet, sleep and dine in one convenient and comfortable location, making this hotel the new standard for elite business travel.

Luxury Pool Renovations at One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

On July 7, 2012 pool facilities at The Palace Grand at the One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai hotel will reopen after being completely refurbished. The pool now matches the majestic appearance of the newly renovated hotel with brand new, elegant tone- on-tone mosaic inlays and glittering turquoise and sand crackled glass tiles. The date palm trees engulfing the pool top complete the welcoming atmosphere of this desert oasis.

Marvel Adventure Theme Park to Bring in Family Fun with Classics

In 2013 Dubai will attract more families to its oasis destination when Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group (IMG) opens a new family theme park, Marvel Adventure. The indoor family-entertainment center, set to open by the end of next year in the City of Arabia development on Emirates Road, is a 1.2-million-square-foot theme park complete with retail outlets, dining, and attractions featuring famous Marvel comic superheroes and villains such as Captain America and the Hulk.

New Fairmont to Open on Palm Island

Set to open September 1, 2012, Fairmont The Palm, Dubai will be located along the coastline in Dubai’s The Palm, Jumeirah development. The luxury resort will include 381 rooms, 36,500 square feet of meeting space, an outdoor beach restaurant and private beach club, pool facilities complete with a children’s activity center, and several fine dining options.

Raffles Spa Provides Male Grooming Services from Expert

Adding to its arsenal of acclaimed customized treatments in a luxurious and private setting, the exclusive sanctuary of Raffles Spa at Raffles Dubai will offer high-end male grooming services provided by a renowned Syrian barber, Ali Al Jaramani. Boasting over ten years experience and training in Syria and the UAE, Al Jaramani is an expert in his field. Services will range from men?s haircuts to a classic shave and even a 60-minute pampering experience reminiscent of a different era. For more information on these services please e-mail

Sofitel to Add Two Properties in Palm Jumeirah

Sofitel will add two new hotels in Dubai at the end of the quarter. One property will be located on the Palm Jumeirah and feature 540 rooms, and another slated to open in December 2012 will include 350 rooms and will be located in front of the Burj Khalifa along Sheikh Zayed Road.

What to Expect During Ramadan

Relax and Celebrate during Ramadan at Raffles Dubai

There is nothing like experiencing the Holy month of Ramadan in a Muslim country. For those who find themselves in Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan, expect to see spiritual and cultural celebrations, expanded retail opportunities and hotel and spa promotions. Guests of Raffles Dubai can celebrate this time of tranquility and reflection in a serene, residential atmosphere at special Ramadan rates. Family- oriented events bring loved ones together in celebration of this important time in the Islamic calendar, exclusive spa services offer the ultimate experience of tranquility and reflection and Emirate hospitality make this an authentic Ramadan experience.

For the Muslim family, exclusive rooms featuring traditional Middle Eastern architecture and décor are available for private group Iftars and Sohours. At Raffles Dubai?s traditional Arabic restaurant, Azur All-Day Dining, families can break fast with an assortment of traditional Arabic cuisine.

At Raffles Spa, limited-time Ramadan services, such as the Raffles Enchanting Garden Ceremony of Rose starting at approximately US$190 (AED 699) for 90 minutes, are offered as a way to cleanse, restore tranquility and become spiritually centered to prepare for the Eid Celebration.

Ramadan Night Market

Always a bustling hub for fine shopping, the retail sector in Dubai reaches its peak during the Holy month of Ramadan. Starting Friday, August 10 through Sunday, August 19, 2012 the Ramadan Night Market will wrap up the Holy month with a full week of luxury shopping, open every evening at the Dubai World Trade Center. Hosting high-end retailers from across the world and showcasing a diversity of goods, the Ramadan Night Market will satiate the heightened demand for shopping during Ramadan and provide guests with a new and exciting retail experience.

News from Jordan Tourist Board. February 2011

Wadi Rum Banner




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!


Malia Asfour

Director, Jordan Tourism Board North America

Quick Links 
Articles on Jordan Travel Mart 2010

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Learn more about the Jordan Specialist Course

Jordan Videos 

 Jordan: Magical Mystical Tour

 Jordan: A Biblical Land

Jordan: An Eco-Adventure Jordan: An Incentive Experience

Voluntourism in JordanJordan: A Tale of Two Sisters

Contact Us

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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). 


VISA Fees to Jordan Increase as of January 1, 2011



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. 

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.

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

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

Jordan Videos 

 Jordan: Magical Mystical Tour

 Jordan: A Biblical Land

Jordan: An Eco-Adventure Jordan: An Incentive Experience

Voluntourism in JordanJordan: A Tale of Two Sisters

Contact Us

 US Toll Free:

(877) 733-5673


Canada Toll Free:

(866) 416-1686 


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  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.


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.


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

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

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Special Travel Arrangements into Montserrat for Arrow’s Funeral on October 1st, 2010

Special Travel Arrangements into Montserrat for Persons Coming for Arrow’s Funeral
Increased Flights and a Ferry Service to be Organised(September 23rd, 2010 – Brades, Montserrat):  In anticipation of the significant number of persons that will be coming for the funeral on October 1, 2010 of Montserrat’s most-famous son Arrow, the Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB) wishes to announce increased access, both by air and sea, to cater to these travelers.  In addition to the regularly scheduled air services on Winair ( and Fly Montserrat (, several additional charter flights are being organised on Fly Montserrat.  The cost of a return ticket from Antigua on these special charters is US$250 per person.   Passengers can pay in EC$ or US$ cash or by credit card (Visa, Master Card or Discover Card).   Travelers are also advised to limit the amount of luggage they will be bringing, as the aircrafts can only take a very limited amount of baggage.  Along with an increased number of flights, a return ferry service will also operate during the week leading up to the funeral on Friday October 1, 2010.  Further detailed information on dates, frequency and times of departure will be circulated, as soon as information is confirmed regarding the number of persons wanting to travel by ferry.Persons wishing to travel to Montserrat for the funeral, whether on the special air charters or by ferry, are asked to contact the Montserrat Tourist Board by email at, by phone at (664) 491 2231, by fax at (664) 491 7430.  The following information would be required:          Name of person traveling          Number of persons in the travel party         Time and date of arrival into Antigua         Airline and flight no. arriving into Antigua         Time and date of Departure from Antigua         Airline and flight no. for departure from Antigua         Indicate whether desirous of traveling  by air charters or ferry          Accommodation in Montserrat where you will be staying
This travel information is necessary so that adequate return flights and ferry services can be arranged in and out of Montserrat during the period leading up to the funeral and afterwards. Persons are also asked to monitor the Getting Here section of the MTBs website at for updates on travel arrangements and also on Facebook at

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 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

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 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.