World business assembles in Jordan through meetings industry

Jordan is open for business. Because of its strategic position in the Arab world as conduit between East and West, Jordan is becoming a major place for global business meets as more international conferences and exhibitions are held in the Kingdom than every. These venues are big business events and crucial to the growing tourism economy. As Jordan becomes more global, more and more companies, international organizations, forums and non-governmental organizations are holding their conferences here.
Such venues today are diverse, designed to meet the dictates of the changing global economy that range from communicating political and diplomatic messages to economy-related ones, involving business development and growth, media and communication, and IT, Internet, and telecommunications which have become big in recent years.
Mazen Kawar, managing partner of the Petra Travel and Tourism Company, and who heads its Petra Events Management division, says in recent years and especially after the year 2000 when Jordan became member of the World Trade Organization, more international companies and organizations have favored Jordan for holding their events.
Part of this is related to the fact the Kingdom has top-notch hotels, high-powered venues, and state-of-the-arts facilities in Amman, Dead Sea, Petra and Aqaba coupled with the variety of touristic products, quality of service and picturesque views and plush Five-Stars hotels.
Today, Jordan has become regarded as the traditional place for holding prestigious gatherings as the World Economic Forum, held in the Dead Sea every other year, and bringing to the Kingdom top political and business leaders from all over the world. Tour operators like Petra Tours have handled other prestigious events like providing the logistics for the HM King Abdullah 10th Anniversary Celebrations in June 2009.
Other important international conferences held in Jordan includes SOFEX Jordan, a security procurement and defense exhibition bringing contractors from countries from all over the world and with all the robust organizations that is required.
Other international conferences held in Jordan’s capital Amman included the OSE (Organization for Security and Cooperation Mediterranean conference, UNDP and Arab Labor Conferences in 2009, and the World Rally Championship (May 2010) that require considerable logistics.
At anyone time up to 1500 international visitors and more came to participate in the high level meetings, and indulge in discussions between local and regional decision-makers from across-the-board, corporate executives and businessmen with their international counterparts.
Kawar says part of the organizations for such gatherings is handled by companies like Petra Tours and other inbound tour operators which are becoming more diverse in scope and bring businesspeople to Jordan to build economic relationships.
Jordan has become a traditional gathering for diverse business, political, social, cultural and even activities Kawar explains who has been in the travel and tourism business for more than 25 years in a travel and tourism company set up in 1965, at a time when there was no more than a handful of tour operators in Amman.
These events generate lots of business for Jordan and the region and bring different businesspeople, executives, high-level officers, ministers, diplomats, those representing NGOs from the world to interact with each other and build their businesses on Jordanian soil.
“Through such exhibitions as the China Products Fair, Jordan has come to serve as a strategic link between virtually one continent and the next, bringing people together in a stable atmosphere such as in the Kingdom,” he adds.
The importance of Jordan lies also in the fact it brings together people from different business cultures as international businessmen and corporate executives come as far apart as from oil and construction companies to paper-mills to meet their like-minded counterparts to sign contracts.
This was the case with the Rebuild Iraq exhibition that was held in Jordan from 2004 till 2007, bringing directors, representatives and salesmen come from the Gulf and other Arab countries and meet businessmen from Europe, America, Russia and Asia to increase their business opportunities and growth. In 2007, over 700 executives from diverse sectors of global companies came to make business deals.
Take for example the China Products Fair, an annual exhibition held in Amman in summer. Kawar says in the last 2010 exhibit more than 12,000 people, a large of which were businesspeople attended from Jordan and the region to meet their 500 Chinese business counterparts who came to display their goods, hardware, and machinery from China. In 2009 more than $83 million deals were struck in the business-to-business events. When it first started in 2004 the Fair had less the 60 Chinese participants.
Such international venues provide concrete and tangible examples of the importance of the benefits of business tourism for Jordan, the region and the world, building trade relations and external linkages.
For a country like Jordan such hosting also means greater business development because delegates, experts and businessmen and traders serve to generate considerable revenues to the local economy as they need hotel accommodation, transport and indulge in fair amount of spending whilst they are in the country. Since they are coming on average for only three to five days then they are prepared to spending more than the average tourists, experts argue. Further still, they are taken on pre-arranged tours to Petra, Madaba, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Dead Sea, Jerash and much more, all awe-inspiring, historical places.
Different venues held in Jordan are also becoming part of a collaborative regional effort. In the last OMNITEC conference on regional infrastructure it involved three partner companies from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan who were involved in the organization of the conference as participants, delegates and attendees came from across-the-Arab region, Malaysia, and Europe,” Kawar adds.
And aside from the business-related venues, there are many others that are humanitarian, educational, communicative and media and awareness-related campaigns like fighting breast cancer, intellectual property rights, music concerts which tend to be a great deal in the kingdom and workshops on human rights and democracy. This is not to mention the “political”, “security”, “regional cooperation” venues (some of which mentioned above) that are regularly held.
Then there are conferences and workshops on such aspects as internet, computer-aided learning, waste-water treatment, recycling, and environmental protection which are more professional, technical and also require expertise.
Because of their overall technical nature, which sometimes could even be medical, scientific, and engineering venues involving delegates from overseas, local event organizers like Petra Tours today have specialized staff to cater for the needs of the staging of such conferences in addition their travel and tourism personnel, Kawar concludes.

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