KARACHI: Jordan has identified the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector, as one of the key high-value niche markets that will further fuel the growth of its tourism industry.
Around 10 to 15% of all visitors to Jordan are MICE related, claims the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), which offers an enviable mix of attractions, from the ancient city of Petra to modern hotels and convention centres, has invested millions in the development of tourism-related infrastructure designed to elevate its appeal still further.
In order to increase this percentage, the JTB has increased its level of participation at this year at Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), which takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 24-26 March 2014.
The JTB will provide GIBTM’s Hosted Buyers with an insight into business and meetings facilities offered in Jordan, by hosting a familiarisation trip after the 2014 event to showcase the country’s unique MICE-focused attractions and services.
“MICE business is extremely important for Jordan, and the kingdom enjoys a reputation as a host for high profile events of global significance such as the World Economic Forum, which has taken place here no less than seven times,” said Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board.
“Jordan is a wonderfully diverse country offering a range of breathtaking attractions to cater to all segments of the MICE market, from incentive trips involving dune bashing in Wadi Rum or exploring ancient Petra, to big association meetings hosted at one of the country’s modern conference facilities in Amman or the Dead Sea,” said GIBTM Exhibition Manager Lois.
“The Kingdom has realised the potential of the meetings industry to drive still further its tourism growth and in addition to making sound infrastructure investments, it is enhancing its presence at GIBTM, which is the region’s premier platform for sourcing significant and high value MICE business.”
Jordan has also been quick to invest in its transport infrastructure, with the recent opening of the brand new state-of-the-art terminal at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport, helping to secure the Jordanian capital’s position as the preferred aviation hub for the Levant region.
Built at an estimated cost of US$750 million, the terminal allows the airport to grow by 6% per annum over the next 25 years by increasing capacity from 3.5 million to 12 million passengers annually by 2030. Tourism is an essential component of the Jordanian economy, representing around 14% of the country’s GDP.
The sector has rebounded in 2012 in spectacular fashion following the impact of the Arab Spring, generating $3.5 billion in tourism revenues, up 15.3% or $3 billion in 2011, according to the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ).
“The uniqueness of the kingdom and its diversified attractions are supported by a well-developed infrastructure and a community of creative and highly skilled DMCs who consistently deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences, helping position Jordan as a preferred MICE destination,” said Arabiyat.
Arab nationals fuelled the growth in tourism numbers, with income generated by regional visitors rocketing 47.1% year on year. Jordan’s venue highlights include the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre (KHBTCC) managed by Hilton at the Dead Sea, which stages many high-profile global events and has been home to the Middle East edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) since 2003.
In the capital, the three-in-one complex, Zara Expo Amman, includes the 316-room Grand Hyatt Amman hotel with 2,500 square metres of meeting and conference facilities; the residential Hyatt Tower; and retail destination, the Zara Centre. The Expo’s three exhibition halls cover 3,000 square metres plus there’s a 300-seat conference auditorium.
In addition to the post-event familiarisation initiative, GIBTM 2014 which takes place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 24-26 March, will also include Business Travel @ GIBTM featuring specialist exhibitors within the Business Travel Zone, a dedicated Business Travel Knowledge programme and exclusive networking opportunities for this specific sector.
The 2014 show will also feature the first-ever GIBTM-hosted ‘Market Focus on Asia’ event along with a dedicated Asia Pavilion; and the Sourceme Pavilion, in partnership with Nicholas Publishing International (NPI), which will showcase the region’s leading event service suppliers.