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10 JORDAN Introduction

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basic standards within their star category, and the optional standards allow hotels to customise their service based on their target market. A unique feature of the system is that it is fully automated through an integrated ICT system that will give MoTA, classification assessors, hotel operators and guest's easy ac- cess to comprehensive information about hotels. By January 2011 all hotels in Jordan will be re-classified under the new system

and hotels will be continuously revised and upgraded in response to new trends in the tourism industry. All of Jordan's top hotels have fully-equipped conference and banqueting

rooms with dedicated staff. Meanwhile, both the Zara Conference Centre in Amman and the King Hussein Bin Talal Conference Centre at the Dead Sea provide world-class facilities for large events. For large-scale exhibitions, the Zara Expo Amman is the country's leading

exhibition facility, linked by a walkway to the Hyatt Amman and the Hyatt Tower. Containing three purpose-built exhibition halls, it offers around 3,000 square metres of air-conditioned exhibition space. With almost 5,000 square metres of

meeting space and 23,000 square metres of built-up area spread over three storeys comprising 27 meeting rooms, King Hus- sein Bin Talal Convention Centre (KH- BTCC) is one of the largest in the region. In addition to the KHBTCC at the Dead Sea attracting large events such as the World Economic Forum, Jordan hosts a number of organisations and big conference events.

Quality assurance One new quality assurance measure that was initi- ated in 2010 is the new hotel classification system introduced to hotels and tour operators in Jordan. Developed by MoTA and the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II in coordination with the private sector, the new classification system focuses on services rather than facilities. "This is an exciting time for Jordan's hotels. This system will help significantly raise the bar at hotels across the country," says Her Excellency Suzanne Afaneh, Jordan Tourism Board's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities. The new system is split into mandatory basic stan- dards and optional standards. Hotels must meet all

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Meetings hardware This demand has inspired further develop- ment plans to increase venue space. There are proposed plans for an extensive new venue in Amman as well as a huge conference facility in Petra, located at the entrance to the visitors centre. Aqaba is also now on the map for meetings and incentives with big resorts and conference halls under development at Saraya and Ayla Oasis. There are currently more than 20,000

hotel rooms in Jordan, almost half of which are in four- and five-star hotels, while several projects are underway that will increase the offering by 5,000 rooms by the year 2012, mostly in Aqaba and the Dead Sea. "We are also developing the infrastruc-

ture of the downtown areas of five cities. This is a World Bank funded project and will see us rejuvenating the spirit of Karak, Jerash, Ajloun, Irbid and Madaba," says

¥ JordanÕs history is shaped by the fact that it is home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world, with the country having been inhabited by communities for the past 9,000 years

¥ Over the centuries, a succession of empires including the Persians, Romans, Nabataeans, Byzantines and Muslim Arabs have all left their indelible impression on the country

¥ An archaeological tour of the country will reveal evidence of Roman and Nabataean ruins lying side by side, along with Greek Orthodox churches and mosques, while the predomi- nantly Muslim population also co- exists peacefully with Christian Arabs. Jordan remains a centre for some of the most important religious pilgrim- age sites in the world

¥ Jordan, as it is known today, was rec- ognised as a kingdom in March 1946, under the Treaty of London. In Decem- ber 1948, Abdullah took the title King of Jordan, and he officially changed the countryÕs name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in April 1949

¥ Petra, a legacy of the Nabataeans, was carved out of the soft red rock found in the region, and later became the site for numerous Roman monuments. Well preserved, the city is only acces- sible through a narrow canyon in the mountains. The classical name Petra means ÔRockÕ and surely no city was ever more aptly named

¥ The Dead Sea, located at the lowest point on earth at 400 metres below sea level, is 10 times saltier than normal seawater and a unique experience for any visitor

Incentives options

Afaneh. "This is a very important project because each of these cities has beautiful archaeological sites and we want to link the sites to the cities themselves. Downtown Salt will also be rejuvenated with a cultural trail in the city that will inevitably become an important attraction for tourists." Big changes are in store for Amman, with the Abdali Urban Regenera- tion Programme transforming the capital to look like downtown Beirut with more boutique hotels, boulevards and office space. While the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) project is in the final stages of design, featuring the rejuvenation of the Roman amphitheatre and Citadel as part of the Wadi Amman project and an opera house designed by Zaha Hadid. Another development of note is the new state-of-the-art airport project,

planned to open in 2012. The JTB has amended the restricted nationalities list opening up many more tourists to visa-on-arrival. There is a focus on attracting GCC visitors, as well as emerging markets like India and China, but Europe and the US remain the main markets.

Great options exist for incentive activities across J Delegates with a taste for adventure can enjoy a experience to discover the challenges and wild bea some of the country's outstanding natural sites such Wadi Rum or Petra, where 4x4 vehicles, camels or sp ited Arabian horses are the preferred modes of transp More daring delegates can soar with the eagles over the towering desert mountains in a hot air balloon, learn to fly, go skydiving, or climb and explore the challenging cliff faces to discover the ancient rock carvings and manmade tombs of those who lived in the area thousands of years ago. Guests can also experience life Bedouin-style, dining by the firelight under a million stars, with the dramatic tones of Arabic music in the background.

Jordan is also famous for its imposing ancient castles,

such as Karak and Shobak, where mock battles can be fought and won (or lost), and medieval banquets are served under the vaulted walls and mighty ramparts. Also, there is Jerash Ð a Rome away from Rome Ð where chariot races and gladiator-style challenges make for exciting and memorable dinner show performances.

È jordan 2011


24 ATTRACTIONS Visitor information






THE ROSE RED CITY For most visitors to Jordan a journey to Petra is the highlight of their trip, and few can deny the excitement when approaching the impressive faade of the temples, tombs and residences carved from the pink sandstone. Petra (from the Greek meaning

ÔrockÕ) lies in the Great Rift Valley about 80 kilometres south of the Dead Sea. It came to prominence in the first century and by the mid-first century had witnessed rapid urbanisation. The city centre was marked by buildings lining the Colonnaded Street stretching from the theatre in the east and the Qasr al-Bint in the west. With Nabataean rule, Petra

became the centre for a spice trade that extended from Arabia to Aqaba and Petra, and onward either to Gaza in the northwest, or to the north through Amman, Bostra, Da- mascus, and finally on to Palmyra and the Syrian Desert. After centuries of prosperity,

Petra fell into commercial decline when new trade routes were popu- larised and ultimately a series of earthquakes all but brought the city to ruin. The city was rediscovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and revealed to the western world for the first time since the Crusades. Visitors to Petra are offered a glimpse into the fabled past as they stand before the impressive Treasury and journey by camel or donkey ride from the entrance of the city through the winding moun- tain fissures before arriving in front of The Monastery.

One or two day tour 10 - 50

Overnight stay is recommended

When exploring the ruins, wear comfortable and sup- portive footwear

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WADI MOUSA Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and all facilitie for visitors are located in the nearby village of Wadi Mous Here, incentive visitors have their disposal a number of lux hotels, including the Mšvenpic Nabataean Castle Hotel, the Mšvenpick Resort Petra, the Crowne Plaza Resort Petra, an the Petra Marriott. Visitors sho stay at least one night in orde spend a full day exploring Pet Ð the minimum time necessar to capture a sense of its uniqu ancient history.

THE GREAT TEMPLE The Great Temple was built to align with the Colonnaded Street, lying on the hillside to the south. It has been speculated that the temple was approached through a monumental Propylaeum with a grand staircase leading into a colonnaded, terraced, sacred precinct. At its centre was the temple,

with yet another flight of stairs leading into the temple proper. While no standing structures were revealed before recent excava- tions in 1993, the site is littered with architectural fragments, in- cluding column drums, probably toppled by one of the earthquakes that have rocked the site. The Great Temple contains eclectic, exquisite art and archi-

tecture from the Nabataean period and demonstrates the valued importance of aesthetic decora- tion of structures with frescos and architectural sculptures. The Great Temple is one of

the key sites in Nabataean Petra. The lives of the Nabataeans were influenced by a unique blend of cultures, and a visit to the Great Temple is essential to the under- standing of many different aspects of the archaeology of Petra.

Half or full-day trip as part of larger Petra itinerary 10 - 50 All day, but avoid the midday heat Employ the services of a tour guide, and allow time for delegates to explore at leisure

jordan provides an in-depth analysis of trends that are vital to the meeting planner

along with a comprehensive round-up of the country's meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition facilities; a review of hotel and venue options; sample case studies; and updates on key infrastructure developments.

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Your Essential Destination and Meetings Guide


ACTIONS information




DIVING AqabaÕs mild climate makes it an ideal location for year-round scuba diving, with the water temperature averaging 22.5¡C. The prevailing northern winds from Wadi Araba keep the water surface shimmering clean, while the Gulf waters are refreshingly cool and clear. The Jordan Royal Ecological

Diving Society is the main organi- sation responsible for research, observation and protection of the marine life in Aqaba, whose wa- ters host about 110 species of soft corals, 120 species of hard corals and over 1,000 species of fish. The shores of the Red Sea are

also frequented by friendly sea turtles that swim amongst the swirling schools of fish. Whales, dolphins, and sea cows are often spotted visiting the area, and nocturnal animals such as the crab, shrimp and lobster come alive in search of food at night Ð ideal for night dives. There are some 45 dive sites

in the area and at least six sub aqua diving centres. All diving is conducted through licensed dive operators and a guide must ac- company all divers.

Group activity for divers and sunbathers 10 - 30 Day and night dives can be arranged Be sure to advise delegates of activity in advance so they can bring PADI certification if qualified

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AYLA Built during the early days of Islam, the walled city of Ayla provides a rare example of early Islamic habitation. Its layout is marked by axial streets leading to four gates, which converge on a tetrapylon (four interconnecting arches). It is believed Ayla was a

favoured stop-off point for those making the annual pilgrimage to Makkah. The city prospered until the 12th

century, when it is

believed to have fallen victim to a series of earthquakes, Bedouin raids and Crusader attacks. The site at Ayla was discovered

in the early 1980s by an American- Jordanian archaeological team. The remains of this once grand city are found along the main beach road, close to the hotel district.

MARINE PARK The protected area of the Aqaba Marine Park was established to conserve and manage the natural marine environment of the Aqaba south coast area with its rich biodiversity, while allow- ing for limited tourist access at sustainable levels. The Aqaba Marine Park Visi-

torÕs Centre caters to all visitors including education and outreach programmes to generate aware- ness of the fragile nature of the marine environment and the need to protect it. Activities include displays, lectures, and slide shows in addition to focused marine activities.

The visitor centre also includes

an auditorium, four exhibition halls, gift shop and a restaurant. Within the parameters of the Aqaba Marine Park there are four facilities offering services includ- ing the Marine Science Station, the National Camp, the Royal Diving Centre and Club Murjan.

Green meetings looking for green activities 10 - 50 Open all day Take part in an outreach programme to really make a difference

Half day walking tour from the hotel 10 - 30 Open all day Ensure delegates are wear- ing comfortable shoes to walk around the remains

MAMLUK CASTLE Mamluk Castle, also known as Aqaba Fort, was built in the 16th century by one of the last Mamluk Sultans, Qansweh Al Ghuri. It has been altered several

times since it was first built, and has weathered the rule of the Ottoman Empire and a famous World War I attack in 1917, when the town, and fort, came under siege by the Arab Army of Sharif Hussein bin Ali, the Hashemite Leader of the Great Arab Revolt, and T. E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia. Located adjacent to the castle

is the Aqaba Archaeological Museum, once the residence of Sharif Hussein, the great grand- father of King Abdullah II.

The Hashemite coat of arms hangs over the entrance. The museum houses artefacts

from Ayla featuring items dating from the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid periods representing Islamic culture from the seventh to the 12th

century. Among the exhibits is a Kufic

inscription from the QuÕran, which sat above the Eastern Gate of Ayla, and a hoard of gold Fatimid dinars from Morocco.

Half day tour in cooler months 5 - 50 8am to 7pm in summer, 8am to 4pm in winter Hire a tour guide and allow time for delegates to explore at leisure

Adrenalin junkies 5 - 10

Check with Royal Aero Sports Club

For those left on the ground arrange a viewing of the skydive videos, guaranteed to entertain all

RED SEA CRUISING Cruising aboard a luxury yacht exploring the many attractions of the Red Sea is a perfect chill-out activity. Private charters can take groups to Taba in Egypt and back, crossing the waterways of four countries, namely Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. Staying closer to Aqaba, a full- day itinerary can include sailing to Pharaoh Island in Egypt where the group can enjoy snorkelling and swimming with a BBQ lunch on the beach, as well as a visit to the famous Salah Al Din castle. Beach activities can also be arranged, if you want to add a teambuilding element to the day. Alternative cruising options in- clude glass bottom boats, dinner cruises and sunset cruises.

Team building day out 20 - 100

Check with tour operators Ensure all delegates carry a photocopy of their passports, and check with the tour operator in case original passports are required for sea travel


See Aqaba from a totally differ- ent perspective. The Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan offers small groups the chance to skydive over the Gulf of Aqaba in tandem with an experienced instructor.

Tandem jumping is the easiest way to get an introduction to skydiving with minimal training. It takes approximately one hour from start to finish for your first parachute jump.

Skydivers are hooked to a

highly qualified instructor for the entire trip. Soaring to an altitude of 3,000 metres, courageous delegates will jump, experienc- ing a 30-second freefall. At 1,500 metres, the instructor will deploy the parachute, and instructor and delegate will then enjoy a peaceful 10-minute parachute descent, taking in the magnificent views of Aqaba and the Red Sea.

Videotaping is available to capture every moment of the adventure. The Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan is a non-profit organisa- tion that was established in 1997, with the vision of providing a wide variety of aero sports. The club was ratified as a member of the Federation Aeronautique Interna- tionale (FAI), the official world air sports federation, in 2005.

jordan 2011


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8 JORDAN Introduction



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jordan 2011

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