The heated argument on inbound Tourism started between the twitter handle Visit Jordan and I earlier this afternoon, when I read the stream of a friend on twitter communicating with @VisitJordan on how expensive inbound tourism is in Jordan, and this is something ive always thought. Its cheaper to go to Sharm El-Sheikh (by plane and stay at a hotel) than go down to Aqaba and stay for a few days with your family and friends.
When I pointed out that a trip to Sharm El Sheikh at the Moevenpick can be an all-inclusive double room full board for around $90 where as Bed and Breakfast night at the Moevenpick Aqaba can cost up to $130 a night, the reply to my tweet was “You travel because people need to travel, not only because of prices. Travel is a necessity now, not just a luxury.”
I just sat back in my seat astonished, seriously?! I told them their answer was very convenient, and although travel is a necessity, not everyone in Jordan can afford it, and that I think tourism in Jordan will never change. I highlighted another tweet saying “You are promoting #Jo don’t judge peoples choice in travel, and when outbound is cheaper and more fun, price is an imp factor”
Then VisitJordan proceeded to tell me that “We as Jordanians only look for places like Dead Sea & Aqaba as destinations to visit, while we don’t consider places like Jerash..”, I think I had lost half of mind with the stereotype we as Jordanians, what the hell? Where do you gets your statistics?! I’m a Jordanian, I love the DeadSea and Aqaba, Ive camped in Wadi Rum infinite nights, even last week I was in Wadi Al-Mujib. Which I brought up, and of course was dumbfounded with their answer about my trip to Mujib which asked “And how many people were there?”.
Funny, actually it was my group of friends and there was 8 of us, and maybe two other groups who took the full 8 hour Mujib Trip and why?! Lets see we paid 36 Jordanian Dinars a head to go hike in mountains and walk through rocks and jump a waterfall, For the 8 of us that’s 288 JD, a tad bit expensive to pay for a hike that doesn’t offer anything?! No water, no food, no place to shower, NOTHING! They actually wonder where am coming from when I tell them inbound tourism is expensive.
So put judging aside, @VisitJordan tweeted saying that they “don’t have a say in prices. Our part is only promotion. We can’t influence prices.” and the key decision makers when it comes to rates and tourism prices in Jordan are “The private sector – GMs of companies – as well as Site Authorities and MoTA.”
So if I were to address the Ministry of Tourism and Antiques (MoTA) who should I meet with, the Minister? I really hope one of their staff members reads this blog and thinks, maybe inbound tourism should be more affordable, Jordan is a BEAUTIFUL country and everyone should explore it all over.
Then a good friend of mine @SalwaQatta jumped into the conversation highlighing that “when booking in Dead sea, hotels ask if i have another passport 4 cheaper rates ” which is kind of true, if you have a foreign passport you usually do end up with a better rate, which I am hoping that Jordan Hotel Association (JHA) (Twitter Handle: @JoHotels) would address soon.
Salwa’s tweets seems to have ignited a new conversation regarding tourism in Jordan on twitter. She says “I think the best marketing 4 tourism is a country’s ppl & how much they love touring their county like #Lebanon” which I believe is true, but then again JTB had to comment and say “Lebanon is much smaller and does not require overnight stays, unlike Jordan. People still love touring here.”; I’m sorry a tad bit unprofessional comparing Jordan to another countries tourism? Or judging the sites in another country?! Jordan is beautiful and we have so much to offer, more than any other country in the Middle East in my personal opinion but I don’t represent the JTB when I say it or tweet it out loud.
So here I am thinking, and please go ahead and think out loud with me, if there is anything you would want to change, anything you think should change or anything you believe will make inbound tourism better in Jordan and will encourage you to stay in town instead of leave the country on your next vacation, share your thoughts and leave a comment.