|Jordan’s online summer calendar
|The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) and Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) have launched a joint website www.calendar.jo which promises to revolutionize the touristic search of where to go, by inviting Jordanians to surf the website to check out events before calling local and international travel agencies.
The website homepage opens with a virtual calendar in the center of the screen detailing the cultural, artistic, musical and athletic activities that are taking place during April and throughout the year in the Kingdom.
The website’s design and search tabs that are situated above the calendar enables the user to view the events in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly order.
Visitors can also subscribe to receive event notifications and alerts directly to their e-mails. In the Upcoming Events List the website highlights upcoming events like a trip to Wadi Rum with info on date, whereabouts of the event, who to contact, and cost.
According to MoT officials, public and private sector organizations and companies can post their events on the website provided they meet the Ministry’s standards.
The procedure is simplified through a choice of any one of six categories: Art and culture, business, entertainment, festivals, sports and adventure, and relative activities. Hitting a subcategory, you are directed to four venues, such as exhibitions, movies, musicals and theaters. After answering a number of detailed questions, you enter the system, upon approval by MoT and JTB.
Another feature in the website is a link called www.visitjordan.com that takes tourists, whether local or international, on a virtual tour across Jordan.
According to its website, JTB was officially launched in March 1998 as an independent, public and private sector partnership committed to utilize marketing strategies to brand, position and promote the Jordan tourism product as the destination of choice in the international markets. Furthermore, the adopted strategies are tuned to reflect the true image of the Jordan tourism as being a cultural, natural, religious, adventurous, leisure and Meetings Incentives Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) destination.
Whereas the www.calendar.com website is more about planning a detailed schedule while in Jordan, the www.visitJordan.com website is more about informing the public about it in a fun and interactive way.
Acccording to a panel on the www.visitjordan.com, the Nabataen city of Petra made its Hollywood debut in 1989 in the last sequel of the Indiana Jones Trilogy Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
Furthermore, not many Jordanians, Arab and foreign tourists know that many scenes from Hollywood movies like Red Planet and The Mummy were shot in Jordan. This knowledge is geared to enhance interest in Jordanian touristic sites as it relates events taking place there more readily.
As part of its marketing strategies, JTB plans and executes an integrated program of international promotional activities. This program includes the active participation in trade fairs, workshops, consumer road shows, familiarization trips, press trips, brochure & multimedia production, and media relations; in order to carry out its goals JTB utilizes the services of eleven offices in Europe and the USA.
During a press conference held in Amman on Monday, Minister of Tourism Ms Maha Al-Khatib announced that Jordan’s 2008 summer will be quite a memorable one. “Petra needs a lot of work. Its main problem is disorganization, which is wasting its potential. We have trouble with too many tickets that obviously need to be unified to facilitate flow into the Rose City,” Khatib said.
According to the Minister, there are approximately 4,000 people arriving to Petra every day, which is why JTB and MoT are working on improving conditions there. “We are at the moment replacing the frayed vendor hovels with wooden ones so as to beautify the interior of the city,” Khatib explained, before adding, “we are also replacing all the old carriages and carts with new ones that are designed by the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB).”
The communities residing in and around Petra are the backbone of tourism in Jordan and we are proud of their achievements. Our next step is to build the community inhabiting Wadi Mousa, Khatib stressed. “There is a great demand on Petra and our next step is to upgrade it services and create shows that will provide visitors staying overnight with good entertainment,” she added.
Twenty new portable bathroom units were installed in Petra in order to maintain the cleanliness of its environment and ease the lives of visitors, according to Khatib who affirmed that Petra is on the top of MoT priorities and does not withstand further delay.
“I am not authorized to answer questions regarding this topic,” was Khatib’s reply to The Star’s question about the government’s decision to revoke the license of an investor, who was planning to build a casino at the shores of the Dead Sea.
One of the issues that were discussed during the meeting was election regulations for JTB. The JTB board comprises seven members who represent the various tourism entities in Jordan.
“The regulation and decision has been endorsed by the government and we are waiting for the official announcement to appear in local newspapers,” Khatib announced.
“This way the members of the board will be on the front line to handle issues related to the tourism sector in the Kingdom,” said Michael Nazzal, president of the Jordan Hotel Association (JHA), adding, “the board will also start planning each year’s tourism plan a year ahead and give it the utmost attention.”
Khatib continued to say that MoT and JTB are implementing a new work plan entitled Masarat (paths), which will adopt innovative tourism-orientated programs that will lead to the discovery of new Jordanian territories.
Farouq Al-Hadidi, MoT’s secretary general; Fawaz Al-Khreisha, Department of Antiquities’s director general; and Naif Al-Fayez, JTB’s chief of operations, attended the press conference.
Khatib and Nazzal announced that Jordan’s hotels are fully booked already which promises a prosperous summer. “Our hotels are 100 percent booked and I dare anyone to find me a vacant room…he’ll win a prize,” Khatib challenged the attending press members, smilingly.