USAID - Assessment of Jordan Tourism Sector

  Full Report - PDF File  النسخة العربية

Executive Summary

·   Tourism has become a critical sector for Jordan’s economy and has continued potential to boost overall economic growth as well as drive employment and income generation for the population

·   Areas identified for government involvement include improving the business environment, focusing on specific geographical zones, focusing on sectors with the most impact on poverty alleviation and export potential in addition to joint public-private participation for investment

·   Jordan is well-positioned to move from a regional, multi-country tourist destination to a stand-alone destination with a portfolio of tourism products with year-round appeal for foreign and domestic visitors. This will require long-term commitment from both public and private stakeholders

Key Findings

The findings of the assessment are based on interviews with over 50 tourism stakeholders in addition to a consultation survey with international travel trade partners and a value chain survey of Jordan’s tourism sector.The report identifies global trends, best practices, and benchmarks shaping tourism demand and competitiveness and suggests approaches for expanding tourism in key Jordan governorates and secondary destinations in ways that benefit local communities. Highlights of these findings are provided in this summary.


·   Tourism is a major force in the Jordanian economy, outpacing other sectors in terms of growth

·   Despite setbacks that have occurred, the sector has demonstrated several encouraging performance trends including:

o   Increase of the ratio of overnight visitors

o   Increase of package tours

o   Increase in tourism investment inflows, particularly driven by a number of significant hotel and resort investments in Aqaba

·   Jordan strengthened its reputation as a destination of choice for both visitors and investors since the launch of the National Tourism Strategy (NTS) 2005-2010. The 2011-2015 NTS sets strategic goals which seem to be difficult to achieve for a variety of reasons such as:

o   Disparity between reality and strategy targets of total arrivals

o   Challenging promotion of domestic tourism as needs and expectations of domestic tourists is not accurately understood among other reasons

o   Shortage of skilled labor and complaints regarding quality of service

o   Professional bylaws have not been approved yet

·   The sector is facing a number of challenges including:

o   Limited product offering with the tourism product losing appeal and preventing the country from capitalizing on its competitive advantage

o   Ineffective marketing efforts with the lack of capitalization on large market segments and the development of tailored products

o   Destinations have not been developed to draw and retain tourists for more than a day or 1-night stay

o   Lack of entertainment and secondary activities to stimulate regional and domestic tourism

o   Lack of two-, three- and four-star accommodation in strategic destinations that deters potential budget and domestic tourism

o   Environmental challenges with archaeological and natural sites becoming dirty, cluttered, etc.

o   Seasonality of visitors with tourists ceasing to come during the summer months

·   The international visitor exit survey demonstrates that generally tourists who visited are satisfied although certain issues were highlighted as needing improvement including cleanliness, poor services, high prices, attitudes of drivers and guides, and public transportation. Many respondents were not familiar with the tourism opportunities in Jordan beyond Petra

·   The consultation survey with international tour operators highlights a number of trends including increasing interest in faith tourism, increasing value for money concerns and interest in the search for authentic nature and cultural experiences

·   Jordan’s tourism value chain involves a large number of public and private sector entities and is well developed, however, the value chain analysis highlights weaknesses and areas to strengthen:

o   Weak product depth to encourage longer stays and target growth markets

o   Lack of information and targeted policies to stimulate domestic tourism

o   Limited expansion of scheduled air, charter, and low-cost airline service

o   Lack of accessibility to sites for independent travelers, minimal transportation options beyond group tours

o   Lack of accommodation options at the two-, three-, and four-star levels for the Dead Sea, Petra, and secondary destinations

o   Low Jordan Tourism Board budget for international marketing

o   High minister turnover disrupts and derails progress toward NTS goals

o   Lack of coordination between Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan Tourism Board, Jordan Investment Board, and Royal Jordanian on marketing and branding campaigns

o   Disconnect between destination marketing and product development at the local level

o   Projected number of skilled trainees entering the industry falls far short of demand

·   Investment in tourism is flourishing despite downturn in tourism arrivals and receipts the country has been experiencing over the past few years. Despite flourishing investment, the business environment is characterized by weak and falling rankings on key global indices demonstrating that Jordan is struggling to improve its business and investment environment specifically in terms of innovation, access to credit, labor market efficiency and starting a business 

Recommended Actions and Initiatives

Five major catalytic opportunities for Jordan’s tourism sector are identified to achieve and implement the new vision.


Market and Product Development

·   Development of a cooperative marketing program

·   Emphasis on e-marketing among service providers

·   Road shows and consumer advertising in Gulf countries

·   Marketing and product development targeting domestic tourism

·   Product innovation incubator

Tourism Leadership and Workforce Development

·   Commitment to tourism education by decision-makers

·   Scale-up Fundukia and Vocational Training Center hospitality programs

·   National Center for Handicraft

·   Regional Center of Excellence for Tourism Management

·   Tourism Education Council

Conservation of Cultural and Natural Tourism Assets

·   Private sector licensing and outsourcing

·   Public, private, and local collaboration

·   Development of place-centered trip circuits and tour routes where protected areas are connected with cultural sites, creating a new experience that combines adventure, eco, and cultural segments

·   Improved training for conservation and site management

Enterprise Development and Inclusive Business

·   Small business enterprise development

·   Investment and financing mechanisms

·   Inclusive business linkages between large and small scale firms

Governance of Jordan’s tourism sector

·   Decentralized governance for localized and effective management

·   Restructuring options at the national governmental level

·   Domestic tourism development


Report Name



USAID-Assessment of Jordan Tourism Sector

July 2013



Supporting Donor




Lead Ministry


Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Key Topics

Accommodation – Entertainment – Governance – Marketing – National Tourism Strategy – Standalone Tourism Destination – Tourism Products – Workforce


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