WTM 2014: Jordan aims to reverse fortunes with niche sector focus and campaigns

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Joint marketing campaigns and a renewed focus on niche sectors will bring tourists back to Jordan despite a dip in UK visitor numbers this year, according to the country’s tourism chief.

Tourists from emerging markets – primarily China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil and North Africa – have been enough to overcome the shortfall from more established source markets put off by heightened tension in the Middle East as a whole.

But to combat negative perceptions of Jordan, its tourism board is embarking on joint marketing campaigns with trade-friendly operators including Cox & Kings, Exodus, Explore, G Adventures and Mosaic Holidays to focus on specific sectors such as adventure travel, food and religious tours.

Speaking at World Travel Market, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board, said: “There was a slight slowdown in our mature markets such as the UK, Europe and the US, but we have noticed an increase in the number of visitors from new markets so all in all, we have witnessed an increase.

“Jordan is suffering from a complete misconception. Jordan is a very safe country within a troubled region. We know when things got better in Egypt, things got better in Jordan as well because many people come to Jordan as part of a joint package.

“We’re trying to attract new markets because people need to come and see it themselves. We are adding new modules to our travel agent training which are very specific. We are trying to push more people to get certified on Jordan because the product is developing, so we need to get our travel agents and tour operators more acquainted with our niche products.”

Two modules devoted to adventure and religious travel will be added to Jordan’s online training programme and are due to go liv