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Tourism as a Path Toward Economic Development

The Economic Growth through Sustainable Tourism Project enhanced tourism competitiveness and workforce development, expanded tourism activities, and assisted the private sector to open new tourism markets.

Jordan’s tourism industry generates more than 14 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product. It also is the largest generator of private sector employment in the country. With almost 1 million visitors to Petra alone in 2010, the tourism industry is a significant asset to the Jordanian economy. To make the most of this economic opportunity, the Economic Growth Through Sustainable Tourism Project (Siyaha), funded by USAID, enhanced Jordan’s competitiveness as an international tourism destination.

As the follow-on to the Jordan Tourism Development Project, Siyaha helped the public and private sectors develop and sustainably manage tourism resources while building human resource capacity to ensure excellent standards of service. Through these efforts, the project focused on improving and preserving the nation’s cultural, historic, and natural treasures. For example, in Petra, the project supported development of a visitor center while integrating UNESCO requirements to maintain the site’s World Heritage status.

One main goal was to improve marketing strategies used by the tourism sector. Specifically, the program introduced digital and social media as strategic marketing tools. These tools helped deepen industry understanding of the changing dynamics of travel in established source markets. Additionally, Siyaha used information seminars, road shows, and media delegation trips to open new source markets.

Another main goal was to ensure Jordan has the workforce needed to maintain growth in the tourism sector. The industry’s rapid growth has been challenged by a shortage of willing and skilled workers. In response, Siyaha established industry-based training while improving societal awareness of the benefits of working in the industry. Working with Jordan’s Ministry of Education, the project reformed tourism and hospitality education and embarked on several initiatives to encourage Jordanian youth, particularly girls, to begin careers in the industry.

Project Links:

Project Results:

  • Used marketing campaigns to promote Jordan to 10 million travelers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany
  • Welcomed 600 travel journalists from 25 countries to write articles about tourism sector in Jordan
  • Supported vocational training centers to help 8,500 students graduate with a 70 percent employment rate
  • Revamped Petra Visitor Center to help encourage tourism to historic site

Final Report

Project duration: 2013 - 2015


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