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JITOA calls for less regulation on entry points for tourists

Chairman of the Inbound Tour Operators Association in Jordan Awni Kawar called for quicker solutions hampering the flow of tourists at Jordan’s points of entry in the Kingdom. Speaking at a press…

Chairman of the Inbound Tour Operators Association in Jordan Awni Kawar called for quicker solutions hampering the flow of tourists at Jordan’s points of entry in the Kingdom. Speaking at a press luncheon organized for members of the press at the Marriott Hotel in Amman, Kawar said because of long procedure at different entry points incoming tourists are having to wait their return in the queue, a procedure leading to frustration and delay.



Tiresome procedure inevitably leads to confusion and loss of business, adding what we want to see is simple unified procedure in all of Jordan`s different points of entry.



Kawar was speaking in a first of a series of meetings with the press designed for greater cooperation between tour operators and members of the local press and media. “Meetings such as these will be held every month from now on, says Ahmed Al Bashiti, JITOA’s executive director.



At the press luncheon other concerns were raised relating to greater training of tourism personnel to offer that added value to incoming tourists in line with Jordan’s National Tourism Strategy which seeks to make Jordan as a global destination by 2010 and already contributes between 10 percent and 12 percent to the Kingdom’s Gross Domestic Product.



Different tour operator members of JITOA such as former tourism minister Munir Nassar, Ghada Al Najjar and Nabih Rayal also voiced their concerns regarding the immediate need for more entry permits at points of entry to ensure greater smoothness of the tourism flow as some of the tourists have difficulty in language which quite frequently hampers communication and delay.



This is a point emphasized by Nassar who said there must be better coordination between the three ministries directly involve in the tourism sector which are the Ministries of Tourism, Interior and Transport.



The issue of restricted nationalities continues to be another source of worry for tour operators despite the fact that the government recently lifted entry permits on different nationalities namely those from the former East European countries.



Ghada Al Najjar said the whole issue needs to be looked at again because the world is a continually changing place. China and India continue to be on the list of restricted nationalities, where their citizens need a visa to enter Jordan, yet China had 34 million of its citizens traveling the world sightseeing in 2006 and the country has become the world biggest exporter of tourism. Similarly in India there is a growing sizable economic strata who are continually traveling the world as tourists.



She added this is the time for authorities in Jordan to change procedure and take advantage of the tourism flow and start a media and marketing campaign away from the traditional markets and concentrate on the emerging markets.

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