World tourism leaders have this week gathered in Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, in a bid to rebuild the regions tourism and overcome challenges brought about by geopolitical events.
Caption: Opening introduction by H.E. Dr Alia Hatough-Bouran, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Jordan
The two-day Regional Conference on Tourism Communications (TOURCOM), which opened on September 20, was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the World Tourism Organisation. (WTO) and the initiative was recommended at the WTO MENA Regional Commission in Damascus in 2004.
Caption: Dr Dawid de Villiers, Deputy Secretary-General World Tourism Organization, H.E. Dr Alia Hatough-Bouran, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Jordon and H.E Mr Tijani Haddad, Minister of Tourism and President of the Council of the League of Arab States at opening ceremony
There is a concern that while tourism to the region has improved since the September 11 attacks on the US and the war on Iraq, the potential growth of the tourism industry remains stifled by prevailing fears and misconceptions about the troubled Middle East.
A series of workshops, led by international industry leaders and consultants, are being held around topics including successful communication practices, effective advertising and tourism awareness campaigns.
Sessions are centred around: Cross Cultural Issues in the Middle Eastern Tourism, Image Building Step By Step and Crisis Communication and Travel Advisories
Mr. Graham E. Cooke, President of the World Travel Awards, Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways and Mr. Yaser Abu Hilala Amman Bureau, Chief, Al Jazeera TV are among the line up of speakers.
Caption: Mr. Graham E. Cooke, President, World Travel Awards and Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways
The TOURCOM meeting will present the experiences and international trends of leading tourism destinations and their working relationships with the media in establishing that success.
Experts from Egypt, Qatar, Thailand, Tunisia, Spain, France and the United Kingdom will be sharing the latest know-how in communications and promotional campaigns.
The TOURCOM meeting will be followed by the 27th WTO Commission for the Middle East meeting on September 22.
The agenda for the Commission Meeting will consider numerous tourism-related issues including some of the more recent market trends and factors that have shaped the course of tourism development.
The members will also be examining its draft programme between 2006-2007, the proposal to develop a unified regional tourism Internet portal and implementation of the Global Tourism Code of Ethics which was being formulated over the past year.
For more information go to www.world-tourism.org