By Fares Braizat, Mar 06,2022

The Jordanian tourism sector contributed JD4.1 billion to the economy in 2019 and used to employ nearly 55,000 people, most of them Jordanians. The sector is labor-intensive and each job has an indirect impact on five other jobs. Its ripple effect propels the economy in ways only large infrastructure projects do.

Realizing this importance, the government allocated over JD50 million in new funds to the Ministry of Tourism to move the sector upward and forward. The investment is too little compared to the contribution the sector has been making to the economy, social safety, economic stability, social cohesion, cultural exposure, site improvement, tolerance, and putting Jordan on the international map of attractions.

The return on investment in the tourism sector is generally high, which makes investing in it worthwhile. In 2019, an investment of JD48.5 million in the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (including JTB, Jordan Museum, and the Department of Archeology) generated JD4.1 billion in tourism receipts, as calculated by the Central Bank of Jordan. 

The budget for 2022 is JD99 million. It is not expected to generate the same level of return as 2019, as the post-COVID-19 recovery of the global tourism industry will take some time, but it will drive the sector in Jordan upward and forward. 

Although Jordan’s tourism sector is recovering better than that in other countries thanks to the efforts of the ministry and JTB and despite meager financial resources, comparatively speaking, there are struggles that will need government intervention at the policy level to rescue the weaker and collapsing hotels and tourism businesses that could not manage to pull through the pandemic despite the COVID-19-related support packages.

These hotels and similar businesses should be helped to regain a foothold in the promising upcoming seasons. The country’s readiness requires many actions, from immediate and short term to medium and long term, to accommodate the expected growth in the number of visitors and the length of their stay.

To ensure that tourists return after a first visit, the sector has a special responsibility to align policies at the national level to make the tourists’ experience memorable and repeatable. The issues are mainly national, rather than sectoral, and they should be addressed nationally by all stakeholders. 

There are high hopes and expectations from the entire country. Probably the highest expectations are among our unemployed youth. It is the youth with expectations and faith in their country who we cannot afford to let down again, because letting them down is unacceptable.

The writer is the Chairman of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, H.E. Dr. Fares Braizat. 

This article was originally published in Jordan News on March 06, 2022. For the original article source, click here