EU, ATTA Support Tour Operators to Revive Virus-Hit Tourism Sector

20 August 2020

Select Jordanian tour operators — some of the hardest-hit due to COVID-19 — receive a virtual support programme funded by the European Union (EU) in Jordan and delivered by Leaders International through the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

The four-month programme, which comes under the EU-funded Jordanian Action for the Development of Enterprises (JADE) project, provides seven inbound tour operators with tailored need-based training activities in product improvement, development and marketing, according to a statement from Leaders International. These seven operators are Experience Jordan, Amani Tours, Discover Jordan, Sindbad for Marine Transportation, Adventure and Challenge Forest Camp, AMIN KAWAR & SONS TRAVEL & TOURISM, and United Travel Agency - UTA Jordan.

Leaders International, headquartered in Brussels, is an international network of local organisations specialised in planning, managing and monitoring innovation and economic development interventions in developing economies, fragile states and post-conflict countries, according to its website.

The support also focuses on creating linkages with outbound tour operators in Europe and adapting tour operators to post-COVID travel dynamics. The main goal of the programme is ensuring Jordan’s resilience and readiness to welcome international tourists as soon as the country opens up, the statement said.

© ATTA / Border Free Travels

Ayman Abdul Kareem, general manager at Experience Jordan, one of the participating operators, said in the statement:  "The uncertainty has been one of the biggest challenges, but we are trying to utilise this time in reflecting on and developing our products. With the support of the JADE project, we are learning how other countries and operators are handling the crisis, enabling us to update our policies and guidelines."

The Jordanian Action for the Development of Enterprises (JADE) is a three-year project and part of a broader EU programme to support private sector development in Jordan.

The JADE Project supports 80 small- and medium-​sized enterprises and 169 innovative start-ups with development opportunities that would increase exports, maximise productivity and create new employment opportunities for Jordanians, noted the statement.

Four leading incubators located across Jordan are also supported to enable entrepreneurs and startups in a range of sectors.

“Tourism — deemed Jordan’s oil — is a key economic driver; consequently, JADE’s support will not only endorse tour operators, but also trickle down to build a resilient tourism industry, generating income and employment opportunities and enhancing Jordan’s overall economic performance,” said JADE project manager Hamzeh Shamaileh in the statement.

Established in 1990, the ATTA is seen as a leading organisation for the adventure travel industry around the world. It currently serves more than 1,300 members in 100 countries worldwide, with a constituency made up of tour operators, tourism boards, speciality agents, and more, according to the statement.

Executive Director MENA Region at ATTA Manal S. Kelig said in the statement: “The world is entering a new phase in fighting the COVID19 virus while at the same time managing the reopening of the tourism economy, and it is a complex and challenging task. ATTA’s partnership with Leaders International through JADE Project will pave the way to build a stronger, more sustainable and resilient economy in Jordan. We hope this project will lead the way to use this crisis as an opportunity to rethink tourism for the future.”

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