I am a travel professional who loves Jordan and who has done a lot to encourage our clientele to visit your beautiful country.
I consider myself a friend of Jordan and a true believer that the friendliness of your people and your amazing sites are the future of your country, with tourism being its “oil”.
That said, things have not always been easy, especially when problems in your region made our job much harder and your destination costlier for us to market. Nevertheless, we were successful in sending many tourists to Jordan throughout the years, because we invested in promoting this destination and because our clients trust our advice.
International tour operators are required by law to book services through Jordanian tour companies, who act as our ground handlers, so in effect, local tourism companies and their staff rely on us for their livelihood, as much as we rely on their professional services in handling our clients and insuring their well-being.
I recently learned that the Jordan Tourism Board will be using its website to sell tour packages online directly to consumers.
These discounted packages will be prepared by a few local companies with the specific aim of undercutting international tour operators who are the main contributors to tourist arrivals to Jordan.
I am sure that this project has not been studied properly, and neither have its catastrophic consequences on tourists’ arrivals to your country nor its negative impact on the image of the country as being friendly to the international travel industry.
This is in effect a declaration of war by the JTB on all international tour operators, and a recipe for a local price war, which will also destroy local tour companies.
If the JTB goes ahead with this, Jordan will not see an increase in tourism arrivals, but a marked decrease. No other country in the world has allowed its tourism board (which is responsible for marketing the destination) to commercially compete in its source markets for good reason: Most tourism boards work hard to attract international tour operators to feature and market their destination, while with this move, the JTB will be actively fighting and alienating loyal travel companies.
Also interesting is that all Jordanian tour operators I spoke to were against it, so why is the JTB going ahead with this project regardless of the industry’s consensus?
The JTB should reconsider its decision before this project is launched, because if it does go through, most international tour companies will simply stop featuring Jordan in their brochures, websites and marketing material, as it will no longer make any commercial sense to continue to promote and sell trips to Jordan when we have to compete with local suppliers who have very little overheads and do nothing to market your destination to consumers in our countries.
JTB should realise that Jordan is competing with many other destinations that are easier to sell and whose tourism boards support international tour operators.