The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) held its Out of Country Board Meeting in Jordan from March 2 to 13, 2023. A group of 23 senior executives representing USTOA tour operator members convened for an in-depth experience hosted by the Jordan Tourism Board of North America (JTBNA) that included Amman, Um Qais, As-Salt, Amman Jerash, Mount Nebo, Madaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea. The visit was cosponsored by Royal Jordanian Airlines and Marriott properties in Jordan among others.
A highlight for the tour operator members was a meeting with Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah who shared his interest in building a sustainable future for Jordan’s travel industry.
“I was delighted to meet with the USTOA Out of Country Tour Operators and learn firsthand how they see tourism in Jordan and how they can position and bring more travelers here, ” said HRH Crown Prince Al-Hussein “I look forward to working with USTOA members in helping build more sustainable tourism experiences in Jordan and promote tourism to lesser known communities throughout the country.”
USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale said, “It was a special moment to converse with the Crown Prince about the future of Jordan’s travel industry, which is such a vital economic contributor, and to hear his vision of developing a healthy and sustainable tourism industry.”
In 2022, USTOA celebrated its 50th anniversary by looking 50 years and beyond with an emphasis on sustainable and responsible travel and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Dale commented that Jordan aligns with those values of USTOA and its members.
Director of the Jordan Tourism Board of North America (JTBNA) Malia Asfour said, “It was such an honor to host the USTOA OOC meeting in Jordan this year and be the first destination to start off the next 50 years! This was an important partnership for Jordan, not only to showcase the destination to many operators who have not been before but to also showcase how the Meaningful Travel Map that we created with Tourism Cares in 2018 is still an important product that can easily be adopted into any itinerary. Our goal is to create local experiences for travelers to connect and expand economic opportunities for these communities.”
The visit began with a welcome reception at the St. Regis Amman for rooftop views of the city before a full itinerary of events.
Attendees explored the region with a schedule of activities including exploration of the ancient city of Jerash, seeing Jordan’s desert landscape at Wadi Rum, visiting the personal classic car collection of former King Hussein at the Royal Automobile Museum, a private Petra by Night experience, and more.
Dale said, “This visit was a fascinating opportunity to see Jordan’s diverse experiences and its deeply rooted history firsthand. A special thank you to our hosts and sponsors in Jordan who each played a significant role in creating a comprehensive itinerary for our tour operator members. I’m confident they returned home inspired.”