By Dana Al Emam
AMMAN — Five cities
will compete for the title of Jordan's "distinctive destination" in a
competition launched on Monday by the Tourism Ministry and USAID.
the Distinctive Destinations Programme we seek to encourage Jordanian towns to
capitalise on their core strengths, unique characteristics and assets to
improve their tourism offerings," Tourism Minister Lina Annab said.
Speaking at the
launch of the competition at Tiraz: Widad Kawar’s Home for Arab Dress, the
minister said the contest is part of national efforts to preserve heritage and
spread awareness of its importance.
communities are encouraged to work together to activate an entrepreneurial
spirit that drives tourism development.
Ajloun, Madaba and Balqa's Salt will participate in the competition, and each
city will seek to prove that it offers tourists the best local experiences in
areas like food, handicrafts and cultural activities.
Organisers hope the
competition would help cities enhance their tourism services to increase the
number of visitors and the amount each tourist spends, which, they said, would
ultimately create jobs and boost local economies.
Director Jim Barnhart said the underlying theme of the programme is to discover
new locations and experiences in Jordan, adding that there is much to discover
even for those who think they know the Kingdom well.
He noted that each
of the five competing cities has distinctive qualities, and the competition
seeks to enhance the services they provide to tourists and to raise development
The overall outcome
will be an improvement in the livelihoods of members of the competing local
communities, Barnhart added.
municipality is responsible for working with private and public stakeholders
throughout the competition, the organisers said.
cities must be part of the ministry’s third tourism project, and should have a
main attraction within two hours’ drive of the city centre. Each city should
also have an active municipality and community capable of carrying out future
The winning city is
expected to have clear plans to improve its tourism sector, as well as a
management team that is ready to cooperate with private and public sector
The results are
scheduled to be announced in October and the winning city will hold the title
for three years, a period in which development work will take place, according
to the organisers.
Through the USAID's
Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism project, the Tourism Ministry
and partners from the sector will provide the winning destination with
technical expertise to develop a detailed and holistic tourism strategy.
Under the same partnership, the winning city will receive support for
the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as assistance in