UNWTO Roadmap for Recovery

Jordan’s King meets with UNWTO Secretary-General

In the recent meeting between King Abdullah II of Jordan and UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, the two addressed the role of Jordan’s place in the Middle East’s tourism industry. As Jordan has grown into a top tourist attraction over the years, the King expressed his aim to carry on with improvements in the sector in order to ensure that Jordan retains its leading position within the industry and the region.

The challenges that the tourism sector has faced in the wake of the global economic decline were also addressed. The UNWTO’s Roadmap for Recovery was offered to the King as a prescriptive course that highlights the benefits derived from building a strong tourism industry. Mr. Rifai went on to praise the resilience that Jordan demonstrated in maintaining positive growth during the economic recession. He cited Jordan’s 2009 receipt of $3 billion from tourism revenue and the 3.8 million visitors that the country hosted in the same year as exemplary indications of effective political will.

The meeting ended with the King conveying his hope that Jordan could take on an ever larger role within the UNWTO and that he looked forward to the prospect of having the organization’s General Assembly sessions held in his country.

UNWTO Roadmap for Recovery

UNWTO’s Roadmap for Recovery covers tourism’s role in creating jobs, stimulating the economy and facilitating the transformation to a green economy. In the area of job creation, tourism serves as a primary force, even outpacing the affects from the growth of global GDP. Technological development, job training and the establishment of productive partnerships are key to realizing the full potential of tourism’s job creating capabilities.

Regarding the stimulation of the economy, tourism has a fundamental role. If properly managed, the tourism industry can drive investments, fuel the export sector and greatly benefit the profit potential and growth of SME’s. These positive features depend on the removal of prohibitive travel taxes, the easing of visa requirements, particularly among regional neighbors, and the diversification of the tourism market.

The transformation into a green economy involves a consistent and comprehensive approach to administering the tourism sector. Job training, investments, marketing campaigns, public work projects and the provision of government incentives should be carried out in a manner that reflects environmentally sustainable practices. As tourism leads the way in creating a new standard of environmental responsibility, it is the task of industry and government leaders to commit themselves to implementing the changes necessary to bring about a green economy.