Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, played host to a selection of world tourism leaders over the past two days (Sep. 20/21) for the Regional Conference on Tourism Communications (TOURCOM). The conference, designed to address the problems with tourism faced in the region, featured such esteemed speakers as H. E. Dr. Rajha Bint Abdel Ameer Bin Ali, Minister of Tourism, Oman and H.E. Mr. Ahmed El Maghraby, the Egyptian Minister of Tourism.
Caption: Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, speaking at TOURCOM.The event came to a close yesterday following detailed and engaging discussions aiming to improve tourism to the region, which has been blighted by consumer scepticism since the attacks of 9/11 and has been further agitated by year-on-year geopolitical events.
The two-day conference, which opened on September 20, was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the World Tourism Organisation. (WTO) under an initiative recommended at the WTO MENA Regional Commission in Damascus in 2004.
Tourism to the region has seen a gradual turnaround but it is believed that the full potential of the region is not being met. This is understood to be an eventuality of prevailing fear and common misconceptions about the troubled Middle East.
Caption: Nick Easen, a Journalist for CNN, gets his point across.
Sessions were centred around: Cross Cultural Issues in the Middle Eastern Tourism, Image Building Step By Step and Crisis Communication and Travel Advisories.
The TOURCOM meeting presented the experiences and international trends of leading tourism destinations and their working relationships with the media in establishing success. It is hoped that this experience will aid the regeneration of the tourism sector in the Middle East.
Speaking of the event Mr. Graham Cooke, President of the World Travel Award, said; “This was a great opportunity for world tourism leaders to bring knowledge to a region with so much potential for growth and success. The Middle East has been dealt a series of detrimental cards and it would seem that events such as this are the best way in which to teach global practice and eventually increase tourism to this cultural vibrant destination.”
Caption: Mr. Graham E. Cooke, President the World Travel Awards, believes events such as TOURCOM are the way forward for the Middle East and its tourism model.