Jordan is located in the Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia, between Israel to the west and Iraq to the East. The country has a coastline of 26 km in the south near the port of Aqaba.
Following World War I, Britain governed much of the Middle East. In the early 1920s, Britain demarcated a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine. The area gained its independence in 1946 and became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Since then, Jordan has played an important role in the Middle East with its strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel. The capital of Jordan is Amman.
Jordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance.
Tourism plays an important factor in the Jordan economy. According to a study by the USAID Community and Economic Development Program, tourism has emerged as one of the most significant economic and social drivers of the present time in Jordan.
Travel and tourism accounts for around 8% of Jordan’s GDP.
According to the USAID report, visitor numbers to Jordan achieved a new high of 3.78 million in 2009.Bed nights in Jordan increased between 2006 and 2008, but in 2009 suffered a steep decline to 4.8 million, and are still in fact considerably lower than in 2005.
With the Arab Spring in late 2010, a steady decline in tourism negatively impacted the economy of Jordan. According to the Jordan Business, tourism arrivals in Jordan fell by 15.4% during 2011 as a result of the Arab Spring.
Tourism is an integral part of life in Aqaba [and Jordan, eds] and a significant contributor to the prosperity of its people. It is also one of its most promising future economic prospects if the region remains stable. There are, however, significant challenges and opportunities facing the industry that require clear strategic thinking and a shared sense of purpose.
USAID ACED Program
Despite the set back in tourism in Jordan, we decided to launch the Hiking in Jordan project during the early days of the Arab Spring in the hope tourism would gain traction a few years later. We hope you will have time to experience Jordan first hand as we have over a period of three years working and living in this fascinating country.
To set the mood, we have embedded the video of the Visit Jordan Website of the Jordan Tourism Board. It describes a number of sites you would see if you follow trails in the guidebook, including trails in Petra, Wadi Rum and Ajloun. Enjoy!
Video: Jordan as a Tourism Destination
- Situation analysis and marketing strategy 2011-2015: Aqaba community and economic development (ACED) program
- Central Intelligence Agency, the World Factbook.