By Kathy Feeney
Perched in the heart of the Middle East, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a portal to the past and a celebration of the present. Visiting this ancient land is standing on the bank of the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It is serenely floating in the Dead Sea and hearing the windy whispers of the sands of the Wadi Rum Desert where Bedouins still dwell in mountain caves.
Finding Jordan is strolling the cobbled roads of Jerash, the most preserved Roman city in the world, then feasting on humus and tabouli in a crowded restaurant served by a smiling waiter garbed in a flowing robe who may think you look as exotic as he does. It is gazing at the gigantic red rocks, tombs and temple facades of “The Lost City of Petra,” which was not known by the Western world until Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt discovered it in 1812 and was recently named as one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” Jordan is sailing on the bright blue Red Sea, and asking your driver to “please stop!” the tour bus so you can take a photo of a herd of camels clomping alongside the highway.
Jordan’s city of Petra was the subject of a recent feature on ABC’s Good Morning America, as well as a score of other cable or network shows and websites such as A World of Wonders, Compulsivetraveler.tv and is among the highly recommended destinations on Frommer’s site as well as TripAdvisor matched by multiple reviews by actual travelers who have compared Petra for instance with Machu Picchu, finding that neither disappoints but both excite.
Welcome to Jordan
“We are blessed with a country that is so unique in terms of archaeology, history, and unspoiled natural landscapes, not to forget that Jordan is the Land of the Old Testament and the birthplace of civilizations,” said Maha Khatib, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism & Antiquities, during her keynote address at the first-ever Jordan Travel Mart. The two-day event was hosted last February by the Jordan Tourism Board at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center overlooking the Dead Sea. More than 250 suppliers and buyers representing North and Latin America attended the trade show. Jordanians JAX FAX met during the conference and traveling throughout the kingdom are eager to show off their country. The welcome mat is out and there is no better time for your clients to visit Jordan.
Overlooking the northern point of the Dead Sea, the Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea offers 10 different room styles, including beachfronts with a mountain view. The resort’s 358 rooms either have a balcony or terrace and offer amenities ranging from satellite television to minibars. In addition to its spectacular location, the hotel features a spa and gourmet restaurants. Rates per room per night based on two sharing a room range from $230 for a standard room to $450 for a beach room, including breakfast.
Featuring views of mountains, desert, sunsets, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the Mövenpick Resort & Residence Aqaba has 296 rooms, suites and apartments. The hotel offers six dining choices, an outdoor pool, a fitness facility, and water sports. Rates (valid until November 1, 2008) per room per night range based on two sharing a room from a standard room at $226 to a deluxe room at $283 depending on season and availability.
Set on a cliff in Wadi Musa, just five miles from the entrance to Petra, the Taybet Zaman Hotel & Resort is equipped with an outdoor pool and comfortable rooms designed to look like caves. With 105 guest rooms and a royal suite, the resort resembles a village with shops selling pottery and other crafts, a bakery featuring Middle Eastern bread and pastries, a restaurant serving traditional Arabic specialties and a Turkish Bath. Rates per room per night include breakfast and start at $110 per person with a single supplement of $95; double rates per room per night at $220 with breakfast.
The hotel does not have a website, but responds to inquires at E-mail email@example.com
The Grand Hyatt Amman is in the city’s business and diplomatic center and 30 minutes from Queen Alia International Airport. With 311 guestrooms, including 16 suites, the Grand Hyatt Amman offers amenities ranging from high-speed Internet connections to restaurants and bars to fitness and heath center and an indoor pool with a star-lit ceiling. Rates are per room per night based on two sharing a room and “vary from day to day based on the best rate of the day,” according to a hotel reservations spokeswoman, “however, a safe guide will be a Grand Room rate at $353. Rates are commissionable and special group rates are available. Visit www.amman.grand.hyatt.com
JAX FAX flew Royal Jordanian direct to Amman from JFK. More than 20 other international carriers also fly into Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport, including British Airways, according to the Jordan Tourist Board. Flight time to Jordan the major European cities is about four hours. It takes about 30 minutes by taxi to reach the downtown Amman from Queen Alia International Airport and costs approximately $22. Royal Jordanian Airlines; www.rj.com
For more information, contact the Jordan Tourism Board 703-243-7404; E-mail info@visit jordan.com; www.visitjordan.com
February 2008 Issue
Jordan’s Royal Vision
Jordan’s tourism executives are planning to double the tourism economy by 2010. That plan involves developing sustainable tourism entities through a partnership of government, the private sector, and the local population to expand employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, and to educate the general population about the social benefits of the industry. Stateside, Jordan is becoming a top seller among tour operators who specialize in the Mideast.
Among their strategies to introduce this fascinating country to the travel trade, the Jordan Tourism Board is sponsoring The Jordan Travel Mart (Feb. 10-12), which will take place at the King Hussein BinTalal Convention Center at the Dead Sea in Jordan to provide opportunities for travel professionals from the USA, Canada, and Latin America to learn about all the wonders Jordan has to offer and experience the diversity of this unique destination.
The official carrier for the event is Royal Jordanian airline and participating properties include Kempinski Hotel Ishtar,the Moevenpick Dead Sea Hotel and the Marriot Jordan Valley Dead Sea Resort & Spa.
Participating travel professionals will have the opportunity to meet with Jordanian suppliers (tour operators, hotels, etc) and start and/or enhance valuable business relationships.
Organized by W. H. Coleman, the event includes pre and post tours that include Petra as well as religious, history and culture programs and eco adventure itineraries.
Call 800-874-2324 x 8025; E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a Jordan Specialist
Search for “Jordan Travel Specialist,” online and no less than 1,210 sites pop up—that’s all there are in the entire world. By becoming a Jordan travel specialist, agents will join a select group of experts that are in high demand year round. Agents who cannot make it to the trade show may want to avail themselves of this opportunity. The course is featured on the Jordan Tourism Board’s website, and is linked with ASTA’s educational portal. “With its rich historical and archeological treasures and the creativity and energy of its people, Jordan is poised to become a major tourism destination for travelers who value great service, fine food, and enriching travel experiences,” writes William J. Shaw, President and COO, Marriott International, Inc.
Jordan is Top Seller at Sunnyland
Sunnyland Tour’s eight-Day Royal Tour Of Jordan continues to lead in sales all other programs to the Hashemite Kingdom Of Jordan. Sunnyland guarantees group departures on this eight-day tour with weekly Saturday departures from JFK on Royal Jordanian Airlines. Geared to meet every budget in hotel category selections, the tour covers all the major historical and Biblical sites. Participants stay four nights in Amman and two in the “Once Lost Nabatean City” of Petra. Sightseeing includes: Amman, the Dead Sea, Bethany, Jerash, Ajlun, Kerak, Mt. Nebo, Petra and Wadi Rum.
Tour Extensions are available for individual and group participants who would like to extend their visit to include nearby Israel, Egypt, Syria or another combination choice.
Call 800-783-7839; www.JordanHotDeal.com
Ya’lla’s UItimate Jordan
Ultimate Jordan, priced from $1,995 per person double, is Ya’lla Tours USA’s most extensive escorted program to Jordan. Passengers stay in Amman the first two nights and visit the Roman city of Jerash. Heading south to Petra withstops at the biblical sites of Mt. Nebo and Madaba, the tour visits Petra at a leisurely pace.
From Petra, travelers set out by 4X4 vehicles into the spectacular desert scenery of Wadi Rum with a visit to Bethany. Travelers then have three nights at a Dead Sea hotel spa. The $1,995 price is available through March 20, 2008; June 1-Aug. 31, 2008; and Nov. 16-Dec. 23, 2008. Prices include seven nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, private transfers, five days of escorted touring, entrance fees, one dinner, five lunches, and taxes.
Call 800-644-1595; www.yallatours.com
For information, call the Jordan Tourism Board 877-733-5673; 703-243-7404; email@example.com; www.seejordan.org