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Jordan qualifies as a MICE destination: Amman mayor

Karen Yue, Singapore...JORDAN’S available tourism infrastructure, the business-oriented mindset of its people and country leaders, safe environment, and location in the heart of the Middle East, are the qualities that make the country ready to capture more international business events, opined capital city mayor, Akel Biltaji.
Speaking to TTGmice e-Weekly during his one-day visit to Singapore, Akel said the country is keen on growing the business events sector.
He said: “Jordan is business-oriented and sees itself as the launch pad for advancements into the Middle East. Our country’s high-level leadership is frequently overseas, engaging peers in talks for possible business opportunities. As we speak, His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein is in Sun Valley (the US) on a business mission. Our people are always looking to bring international business investments into the country.
“Because of (all that and) Jordan’s tranquillity, security and the swell of intellectual capital, the country is home to many international organisations with humanitarian and commercial interests in the Middle East.”
In terms of infrastructure, Akel pointed out that the country has “almost all the big hotel brands you can think of – The St Regis, Kempinski, Le Meridien, etc – and a Ritz-Carlton is now being built”, in addition to the King Hussein Conference Centre at the Dead Sea, and the Zara Conference Centre and King Hussein Business Park in Amman.
Jordan will host the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa come May 2017, an event that Akel said would “demonstrate how much a peace-loving people we are and how safe the country is” and “serve to raise Jordan’s profile as an attractive tourist destination in the minds of global travellers”.
Another high-profile business event in Jordan is the Pan Arab Construction Forum, which Akel said would be attended by delegates from the Middle East, South Africa and Europe.
At present, China is regarded as an important source market for both leisure and business traffic.
“The Chinese government has earmarked US$50 billion for investments in the Middle East, and Jordan’s portion will be about US$10 billion to US$15 billion over the coming decade. His Majesty visits China every year for trade talks, and the Chinese view Jordan as a launch pad for further investments in the Middle East,” Akel shared.
“My city Amman is looking to engage Chinese companies to build our underground metro and possibly a railway system that may extend across the country and then region,” he added.
Akel pointed out that “trade follows travel and tourism”, and Jordan’s tourism industry can expect to benefit from both out of China.
To enable traffic from China, Royal Jordanian inaugurated its first service in China in April. The airline flies thrice weekly between Amman and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. 
Daniel Sin, group CEO of Deks Air (Singapore), GSA for Royal Jordanian, said the demand for the service has been strong because it attracts passengers from Shanghai too. The service enjoys an average load factor of 80 per cent.
Royal Jordanian’s network in Asia also includes Hong Kong (four times weekly), Bangkok (daily), Jakarta (thrice weekly), and Kuala Lumpur (thrice weekly).

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