- by Haneen Nofal
- in Latest News
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AMMAN — Tourism Minister Majd Shweikeh on Wednesday announced the first Arab Forum for Tourism Investment, which will be held on March 14, 2020 under the patronage of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, with the aim of promoting investments in the sector, increasing growth and attracting more tourists.
"Tourism is one of the most important sectors for stimulating the national economy, and we are progressing; but our goal is to sustain growth," the minister said during a press conference held at the Tourism Ministry.
The press conference was attended by Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) Chairman Khaled Wazani, CEO of Al Iktissad Wal Aamal Group Raouf Abu Zaki and representatives of the tourism sector from the public and private sectors.
Shweikeh noted that the number of tourists in the Kingdom increased by around 8.5 per cent during 2019 compared to the previous year, while tourism income increased by 10 per cent over the same period.
"This achievement could be doubled in the coming years if we work on creating a sustainable tourism system that covers all types of tourism," the minister said, highlighting the role of tourism in supporting local communities and creating jobs.
She reiterated His Majesty King Abdullah's remarks during a meeting with tourism representatives on Monday at Al Husseiniya Palace, during which he called for focusing on tourism priorities around Jordan, stressing that there will be a focus on the southern region in the coming months.
The minister said that investments will focus "not just on hotels", but on all projects that increase the stay period of tourists in the Kingdom, highlighting the importance of harnessing innovation to enhance the competitiveness of the tourism product.
"The forum will be interactive, and attended by Arab tourism ministers and those interested in tourism investments," Shweikeh said, noting that the forum’s outcomes should give rise to social, cultural and economic development.
For his part, Wazani said that he “believes in sharing the task of attracting investments”, reiterating the forum’s role in creating jobs and noting that 15 to 20 available tourism opportunities can be presented to participants to encourage investments in the sector through the JIC booth.
These opportunities will be in Aqaba, the Dead Sea and Ajloun among other areas, Wazani said, noting that the commission aims to attract JD2 billion of investments throughout 2020, JD500 million of which will be channelled into the tourism sector.
Abu Zaki said that Jordan "is a unique tourist destination" that offers all sorts of tourism activities and products such as historical, cultural, business, medical, sports and adventure tourism, among others.
"This is thanks to people’s hospitality and the atmosphere of safety, which are key elements in tourism," Abu Zaki said, noting that forum will highlight the tourism climate and opportunities.
The forum aims to attract around 300 tourism leaders from Jordan and other countries in the region, he said, voicing hope that it will be held annually to “build on its outcomes and the efforts exerted”.
He also noted that “it fits Jordan” to be the hub for promoting regional tourism,"thanks to its firm political will under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah and its active private sector".