|Tourism may get new law, chamber JITOA holds 4th OGM
|The 4th annual ordinary general meeting of the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) was held on March 18, at the Grand Hyatt Amman amidst great hope for the tourism sector.
To emphasize JITOA’s role in inbound tourism, Minister of Tourism, Mr Osama Al-Dabbas attended the meeting, which was presided over by JITOA’s Chairman of Board, Mr Awni Kawar.
“This annual meeting means that JITOA is creating an institutional framework for inbound tour operators, and one that can make their voice heard,” said Kawar, who was elected last year as the Association’s chairman.
Discussions evolved around the Association’s financial statement and its 2006 annual report where it was highlighted that much effort was made to upgrade the status of the inbound tourism industry, responsible for around 10 percent of the kingdom’s GDP.
Minister Dabbas talked briefly about the introduction of a new tourism law, and said such a law would be a more modern one, in tune with the times and would replace the old one, which is 20 years old. He also said, without elaboration, that there is a possibility of introducing a new tourism chamber for the tourism and travel sector.
JITOA member and former tourism minister, Mr Munir Nasser, talked frankly about the 16 percent Sales Tax on Tourism which tour operators are seeking to be exempted from; he also urged JITOA members to play a more effective role in the Association’s committees, which have been activated this year.
“It is through these committees that the Association can play an effective role in advocacy and make our industry a more professional one,” he added.
JITOA has been in existence since 2004, when it emerged as a business association to represent inbound tour operators. “We started with 15 members and the figure today stands at 67; we hope to raise it to 100 this year, and our membership retention has been consistently high,” pointed Ahmad Bashiti, JITOA’s executive director.