Jordan is hosting the Middle East Travel and Tourism Summit (METTS) this February 26th -27th at the Dead Sea under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II. The event will aim to bring together investors, government representatives, and professionals from all sectors of the travel and tourism industry to explore topics relevant to enhancing regional tourism.
The expected 400 participants will hear from sixty international and regional speakers, including H.E. Munir Nassar, Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Deputy Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation, Mr. Tom Nutley, Chairman of Reed Travel Exhibitions, Lyndall De Marco, Executive Director of IBLF, HRH the Prince of Wales Trust, and Ali Kolaghassi, Vice Chairman and CEO of Saraya Jordan real estate company. Other speakers joining METTS come from other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, in addition to, speakers from the UK, Malta, Switzerland and other European countries.
Twelve information panels will provide a forum for exploring the region’s potential in a number of key areas in travel and tourism, including infrastructure development, public/private partnership, security, foreign direct investment, and preservation of cultural heritage.
METTS comes at a crucial time for the Middle East, as international tourism in the region has been booming and demand continues to increase. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, regional demand in travel and tourism increased 9.1% in 2004, and a yearly real growth rate of 4.4% is forecast for the next ten years. The region has experienced a high level of investment in developing resorts, entertainment outlets, and cultural attractions, as well as other aspects of tourism infrastructure.
Jordan, in particular, has produced a National Tourism Strategy that indicates a strong national commitment to developing the industry. Receipts from travel and tourism account for an expected 6.3% of the kingdom’s GDP in 2005.
Jordan offers visitors access to a rich cultural and natural heritage. Among its most well-known attractions are the ancient Nabataean ruins of Petra, the breathtaking expanse of Wadi Rum, and the historic Dead Sea. The kingdom has also worked to preserve numerous archeological sites from the Islamic and Roman periods. Eco-tourism has become increasingly significant as visitors are drawn to Jordan’s nature reserves to explore diverse ecosystems and unique geological features.