ATM 2013 road show arrives in Amman highlighting improved tourism numbers, investment and confident sector mood
The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) road show arrived in Amman yesterday (Sunday 10 February) to conduct an educational seminar at a time when Royal impetus is driving Jordan’s ambitious tourism development plans.
The Hashemite Kingdom is ploughing ahead with its 25-year master plan for sector development and government figures report a 15.3% increase in 2012 tourism receipts on 2011 figures, adding US$3.47 billion to the economy.
According to Jordan’s Central Bank, the increase in tourist revenues was due to the pick-up of inbound tourism numbers, with an increase in visitors noted from Iraq, Libya and the US in particular.
Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels’ EMEA Q3 2012 Quarterly Newsletter reported that hotels in Jordan achieved the best trading results in the Middle East, primarily due to an 18.1% increase in occupancy. Amman was the best performing city in the Middle East & Africa region for the same period, with 30.4% RevPAR growth.
The Jordan Tourism Board will lead a host of high-profile participants to Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2013 which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 6-9 May, such as Amlak Hotels & Tourism Investment and first time exhibitor Belle Vue Hotels. Commenting on the on the renewed optimism and confidence in Jordan, Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said:
“Jordan currently has a pipeline of around 3,858 hotel rooms, with 2014 set to be a banner year for openings, with a number of high profile hospitality names making their market debut, and the country is definitely on the cusp of a tourism revival,”
Leisure demand, thanks to the country’s rich cultural heritage, remains the key tourism driver and one of the key elements of the Kingdom’s tourism master plan is development in and around the Dead Sea and Aqaba with a number of hotels set to open in 2014/15, including the Westin Aqaba Harbour Resort & Spa, Starwood’s Luxury Collection Al Manara Hotel and the JW Marriott Aqaba Hotel & Spa, along with the headline grabbing US$1.5 billion Red Sea Astrarium - a Star Trek-themed amusement park.
“The current annual capacity of 3.5 million passengers at Queen Alia International airport, will be superceded by expansion plans to accommodate up to nine million passengers per year with the imminent launch of the new US$750 million terminal, and a second phase taking that to 12 million in the coming years,” added Walsh.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the total number of visitors to the country fell by 7.3% in 2012, to 6,314,250, compared to 6,812,426 in 2011, however 4,162,367 overnight tourists were recorded in 2012, up a healthy 5.1% from 3,959,643 in 2011. The number of visitors heading to Jordan’s key archaeological sites also dropped, although Petra Archaeological Park reported a 15% increase in December 2012 visitors against the previous year.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and set to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world.
New to the 2013 event, ATM is launching the digital and technology day focusing on online travel developments and showcasing headline speakers from across the industry.
Taking place again this year is the New Frontiers Award, which was created to recognise outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity.
The perennially popular industry Careers Day will wrap up the week providing the opportunity for visitors looking to make a career move to meet with the exhibitors’ HR contacts looking for their next recruit.
Photo caption: Petra remains a top tourist attraction in Jordan.