dinsdag 8 september 2015

"But is it save in Jordan?"

Salam Ailekum,

We have all heard about the turmoil in the region around Jordan. Of course it did not seem strange that the number of tourists that visit Jordan would drop. After 7 days in Jordan I have only seen about 100 (western) tourists at the tourism sights and most of them at Petra. The fourth day of the summer school we went to the dead sea and after that, on our way back to Amman, we made a stop at a huge store for dead sea products..

When I entered the store I was really surprised about the size of the building, it really looked like a big supermarket filled with souvenirs and dead sea products. But the store was unpeopled and the prices were very high. No tourist to find anywhere, only a bunch of students from the Netherlands but they did have (not joking) 10 staff members walking around the store and ready to 'help' us. Because I was wearing a Moroccan dzjellaba one of the vendors offered me an extra discount on the products. After having a little chat, I asked him why the prices were so high. He told me that we were the second tourist bus that week and it was already Thursday.. And all because of Daesh (The arabic name for ISIL). After that he went on telling about the drop in tourism the last years and the necessity of increasing his prices to provide for his family.. Quite shocking to hear this from a local.

There is another (interesting) 'kind' to tourism which focuses briskes up in tumultuous times: dark tourism, danger-zone tourists show interest in the conflict want to experience the tumult from the first hand. 1 Dark tourism is actually visiting a country with the intention of visiting a place of turmoil, disaster and conflict. 2. Well, despite Jordan being the 'Switzerland of the Middle-East' people still repeatedly ask: "Is it save there?". I hope that more and more people will find out that Jordan is a stable country and the number of tourists in Jordan will increase. But this feeling can not rise from one side and might need some help from the Jordanian tourism department (or USAID) with a pr-campaign and maybe then the shop owner can lower his prices.

Have a good day!

1. Buda, D.M. (forthcoming 2015). Tourism in conflict areas: Complex entanglements in Jordan. Journal of Travel Research.
2. Richard Sharpley; Philip R Stone. The darker side of travel :The theory and practice of dark tourism. Bristol, UK ;


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