India is one of the most important source markets for us

Posted On Apr 24, 2015

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‘India is one of the most important source markets for us’
In an interview with TnH, H.E. Dr. Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat, Director General of Jordan Tourism Board spoke about the significance of India for Jordan Tourism and more.


Is India a big market for Jordan?
Of course, it is. We consider India as one of the most important source markets for us. We started investing in this market in 2006, when Jordan used to receive merely 5-7 thousand tourists from India. In the last 4-5 years, we have succeeded in increasing the number of Indian tourists visiting Jordan to 50-60 thousands which indicates that this market has a lot of potential and Indian tourists look for Jordan as a destination of choice. We have already done a lot of promotional activities there and we will continue our investment in this very important market.

What sorts of Indian tourists usually visit Jordan?
I have noticed that majority of Indian tourists are coming to Jordan to visit biblical/religious sites, basically for religious tourism but the problem is the length of stay. Their average length of stay is about one night-two days. We are working with our partner, the JTB office in India, to increase the length of stay of Indian tourists in Jordan. Moreover, we are also working to tap other sorts of tourists. For example, MICE segment, which is very important. We are making some modification in our action plan to attract more MICE business from India.

The MICE segment is sensitive to unrest and there is a misconception that Jordan is not a safe place. So what will be your message to Indians tourists, corporate planners & MICE planners regarding these anxieties?
You are in Jordan now and you can see for yourself that Jordan is very safe. It is still receiving tourists from all parts of the world. I hope to eliminate this concern from the mind of tourists so that they can enjoy the hospitality and authenticity of the country. But beyond the misguided security concerns I would like to inform them that we have a lot to offer in terms of services. We have very professional event management companies that can arrange for congresses and incentive programs and conferences. Soon the world economic forum will be held in Jordan. A lot of high level officers like presidents of different countries will come to Jordan to join his majesty at this big event. We also have a big event of soccer in May related to FIFA lined up. All the officials and factories related to soccer will come to Jordan to present their equipments here. We are talking about huge numbers. So I can assure you that Jordan is safe, and will remain an oasis of peace in the Middle East. It’s business as usual here.

Connectivity is a little bit of problem between India and Jordan since Royal Jordan airline pulled off its flights from India? Is there any effort to start flights directly from India again?
We talked to the Royal Jordan Airlines. I hope that they reconsider and revise their decision to restart direct flights between India and Jordan. Hopefully, Indian airlines will also come to Jordan, especially since two weeks back our government waived tax at the King Hussein International Airport in Aqab, making it one of the cheapest airports in Middle East. The departure tax has almost been waived. Visa fee also does not exist any more. We can also get into a partnership with other airlines so that they can stopover in different countries and bring tourists to Jordan.

What marketing activities do you have planned in the Indian market?
Our representative in India is doing their best to push more and more tourists to the destination. This familiarization trip is just one activity amongst a lot of activities that we do in the Indian market in terms of educating tour operators, doing co-marketing with Indian tour operators and advertising. Now we intend to modify our ad content to focus more on the segments that may be less sensitive and have more potential like the MICE segment which is very important and growing in the country.

Can you tell us about the kind of infrastructure you have for MICE segment?
Yes, we have the convention center at Dead Sea. It can cater to five thousand guests at the same time. It is located at the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea area, where the concentration of oxygen is 10 per cent more from any other place in the world. So it is fantastic place to have big events where experts can sit, think, innovate, and create. We have great luxuries hotel with great services in this area. It is very close to Amman so it is easy to move from Amman to the Dead Sea. It is about a 40- minute drive. The airport has also been expanded and the new terminal caters to more guests and provides more services to them.

Can you tell us about visa facilities for Indian tourists?
Now the government has realized that we have to facilitate the visa process. Earlier you were required to have $3000 cash and a hotel booking to get a visa. That requirement no longer exists if you come via a tour operator; you can enter Jordan directly. However, if you are coming as an individual there are special requirements to prove that you are coming for tourism so I suggest that Indian tourists should get a visa before they come to Jordan.

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