The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) welcomed more than 200 international delegates to the Dead Sea for two days of immersive learning about Jordan and the region’s adventure experiences, while also offering networking opportunities with some of the most influential media and inbound and receptive tourism operators in the world.
The inaugural AdventureNEXT Near East event, organized by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), was created to be an annual forum showcasing the wider region’s growth as an emerging adventure destination to the global tourism industry. As the first event ever held in the region for the active and eco-adventure tourism market, the JTB and its long-standing partner the ATTA worked together to deliver an event dedicated to fostering new partnerships for travel professionals in the Near East region.
AdventureNEXT Near East also attracted 25 international travel journalists. Prior to the two-day conference, delegates were hosted on nine different Pre-Adventures that highlighted the country’s diversity. During the event, delegates were engaged with inspiring presentations and keynote speakers, and they also attended the tour operator Marketplace, a signature ATTA event facilitating new business partnerships for inbound tourism.
AdventureNEXT Near East opened with a welcome from Her Excellency Lina Annab, Minister of Tourism & Antiquities; Dr. Abdalrazzaq Arabiyat, Acting Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board; Shannon Stowell, President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association; and Malia Asfour, Director North America, Jordan Tourism Board. Andrew Evans, who recently completed hiking the country’s newest adventure experience, the Jordan Trail, and photographer Annie Griffiths, known for her work empowering women around the world, also spoke. Under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah, Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Hani Mulki also attended.
“By hosting such a prestigious annual event in the region, we provide a platform for new ideas and development opportunities,” Minister Annab said. “Jordan has a diverse landscape and social fabric which blends antiquity and modernity. You can walk through ancient Roman ruins in Amman, Ajloun, Jerash, and Um Qais and then go scuba diving in Aqaba, canyoning in Wadi Mujib, and immerse yourself in wellness at the Dead Sea. It surprises so many of our visitors how diverse we are, and it is time we tell our story of diversity to the world.”
Prior to the announcement of AdventureNEXT Near East, the ATTA asked its global membership “What does adventure mean within the Near East?” “What we have seen is vast support from the international community: local operators showing and offering novel itineraries throughout the region; tremendous support from our partners at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan Tourism Board, and many other key strategic partners,” Stowell said. “The fact that over 200 delegates came to support and learn about the ongoing development of adventure tourism in the Near East is testament of growing demand for this region.”
The JTB is proud to take the lead in sustainable tourism development because it is not only the source of many citizens’ livelihoods, it also creates a sense of belonging and involvement for all communities across the country. AdventureNEXT Near East will return in 2018 and for many years to come as a pivotal event where Jordan and the region’s adventure industry come together with the global tourism industry for sustainable growth.
“We are so proud of our industry and how they have come together to host this influential global audience. It is our time to shine, with the launch of the iconic Jordan Trail, recognition of Jordan’s exceptional scuba diving, and the growth of our community-based adventure experiences from biking, canyoning, mountaineering,” Dr. Arabiyat said. “Adventure tourism combines beautifully with our culinary, wellness, and historical experiences, and I am sure those attending who went on Pre-Adventures will confirm the diversity and magnitude of Jordan’s adventure product.”