Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Country Profile: Jordon

by Rose Hessmiller last modified Sep 25, 2018 01:10 AM
USAID and the Siyaha Project



Recognizing the power of tourism to contribute to Jordan's economic growth, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) designed the Jordan Tourism Development Project (Siyaha). Siyaha is a three-year, $17 million project working with the Jordanian government, local communities, NGOs and tourism-related institutions to develop a dynamic, competitive tourism industry.

Siyaha is supporting the implementation of Jordan's National Tourism Strategy 2004 - 2010. The strategy, developed by a public-private sector partnership, aims to double the tourism industry through intensified marketing and promotion, an integrated approach to human resource and product development, and institutional and regulatory reform.

From 2005 to 2008, the project is working with its partners to spur private sector investment and business development, and expand employment throughout the Kingdom. Jordan's tourism industry will emerge as an international destination-of-choice that capitalizes on Jordan's culture and tradition of hospitality while preserving its historic and natural treasures.

Please see Siyaha USAID / Jordon Tourism Development Project and Newsletters


Siyaha implements the Wadi Rum Tourism Development Project

Wadi Rum is arguably Jordan’s most precious natural treasure, a sandstone desert of smooth, dusty pink sands and dunes, towering mountains and an ethereal silence that is simply spellbinding. Just as fascinating as the desert are those who make it their home, the local Bedouin. In a landmark initiative that sets out to encourage tourists to visit this magical place and take the time to experience Bedouin culture as well as interact with and benefit the local communities, Siyaha recently launched a comprehensive eco-tourism development program that aims to develop authentic desert and Bedouin experiences by improving tourism services and creating new products provided by tourism-oriented. The $1 million Wadi Rum Tourism Development Project was launched in October 2006, at which time USAID grant agreements amounting to almost half a million USD were awarded to five community-based organizations (CBO) by USAID/Siyaha. The grants are being used to create new authentic tourism experiences and improve existing ones by supporting product development and production, and providing technical assistance to the organizations. Over the past year the project has created almost 250 job opportunities in the various areas of CBO management and administration, camping, musical and cultural experiences, handicraft development and guiding.x barrah rock cliffs

Tourism Investment in Madaba is on the Rise

Tourism has become the new buzzword in Madaba, and the locals are putting their money where the buzz is. Since the USAID-funded Jordan Tourism Development Project’s (Siyaha) work began in Madaba in late 2005, and with the launch of the Madaba Tourism Development Strategy in May 2006, there has been a proliferation of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises, and the entrepreneurial momentum continues to pick up speed. The conditions are ripe for investment in tourism, and the locals are well aware of this. To date the new shops, restaurant upgrades and planned hotel rooms that have been implemented or proposed add up to an injection of over $1.7 million of private capital into tourism-related businesses in Madaba, all by locals of the city. All these new developments support 55 fulltime jobs. These investments have been motivated by Siyaha, which has provided technical assistance, training, meetings, one-on-one counseling sessions and grant support to existing and start-up local businesses, as well as being influenced by future investments in the infrastructure of the historical district planned by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) and the World Bank. In addition to private sector-led investment, MoTA and Siyaha are cooperating to provide opportunities to invest in public assets, such as the (heritage) Saraya building that will be converted next year from a police station to a tourism and cultural attraction operated by an NGO. Also, close coordination with the local governorate and municipality is taking place to enhance the walking experience in Madaba by organizing traffic, implementing a pedestrianization scheme, frequent clean-up of the city, and more. Other plans include enhancing the visitor experience at the Archaeological Park and the Church of St. George. From a tranquil little city with inconspicuous attractions to a hub of culture, history and enticing investment opportunities, Madaba’s transformation over the past year has been tremendous. For the locals this has translated into a drive to improve products and services, and contribute to creating a memorable visitor experience. The prospects are encouraging, the outlook is bright, and the Madabites are eager to tap into what bodes to be the rewarding business of tourism.

USAID supports the teacher training at the Jordan Hotel School

Set in the midst of a quiet residential district in Amman, the Jordan Hotel School (JHS) is discreetly transforming the way hospitality and tourism education is offered. As Jordan’s first private vocational level hotel and tourism high school, JHS represents a best practice model of cooperation between the public and private sectors. The USAID/ Jordan Tourism Development Project (Siyaha) is supporting the development of JHS to attract more students into the fields of hospitality and tourism by enhancing facilities and improving the capacities of teachers and trainers. Teachers and trainers underwent courses to augment their skills in exam writing, as well as a ‘train the trainer’ program, which was financed by a USAID grant awarded to JHTEC in September 2006 to provide students of JHTEC academic institutions with an effective platform for learning and experience in the area of tourism and hospitality at what will be the leading tourism education and training campus in Jordan and the Middle East region. The JHS is a unit of the Jordan Hospitality and Tourism Education Company (JHTEC), which also includes the Century Park Training Hotel. The Jordan Hotel School currently has a total of 140 students, five of whom are women, in a two year program offered to high school students (11th and 12th grade), and it employs 20 teachers and trainers. It is planned to increase the school’s intake of students in the 2007/2008 academic year to 120 students in each of the two grades.

The Madaba Vocational Training Corporation Center is Launched

USAID/Siyaha is working in partnership with the Ministry of Labor to develop professional skills in the tourism and hospitality industry by modernizing the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC) Hotel and Tourism centers. Following an assessment of the 15 vocational training centers that specialize in hospitality and tourism, USAID/Siyaha helped develop a model center in Madaba, the process for which would be implemented across the remaining centers. Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah inaugurated the Madaba VTC center in January 2007 and the launch represented a significant step towards improving vocational training for tourism and hospitality in Jordan. Siyaha is continuing to build an infrastructure that enables the development of VTC vocational training centers, and is working to attract private industry partnerships and support for operation of the centers, thus building a sustainable base for continuing public private partnerships.

The Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration in Madaba set to become leading mosaic training facility in the region

Set to lead the region in mosaic art and restoration training, the Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration (IMAR) was formally opened in September 2007 as part of a USAID/Siyaha initiative to reposition the existing Madaba Mosaic School into in institute for higher education. The IMAR initiative was implemented by USAID/Siyaha with the support of all key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), Department of Antiquities (DoA) and Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE). IMAR was formerly the Madaba Mosaic School, which was established in 1992 and gained a reputation over the past 15 years as center of excellence for mosaic art and restoration; it is the only school of its kind in the region today. In early 2006, in response to a request from DoA, USAID/Siyaha conducted an assessment of the school and recommended its upgrade and repositioning to become the leading regional center for the study, conservation, and production of mosaic art. Funding for the renovation of the school into IMAR came from USAID, which granted JD1 million to the project, as well as from the Italian Government, which pledged JD780,000 as a contribution for funding the enhancement of the school into IMAR. The institute is forecast to play a big role in educating and training students and professionals in this art and in enhancing the city’s tourism experience.


USAID/Siyaha and MoTA Launch the Jordan National Tourism Public Awareness Strategy and Campaign

As Jordan’s tourism sector takes over a growing chunk of the country’s economy, it is important that Jordanians are aware and supportive of the move in the direction of tourism. Above most other things, a successful tourism industry requires the support of Jordan’s citizens, whether they be directly or indirectly involved in the tourism sector, or even not at all. With this in mind, USAID/Siyaha and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have undertaken a tourism awareness campaign that will be implemented nationwide. This exciting initiative endeavors to spread the word of tourism to all corners of the country. The Jordan National Tourism Public Awareness Strategy was launched in May 2007, along with a nationwide campaign which endeavors to enhance local perceptions of tourism and the sector in general. The purpose of the campaign is to better convey to the Jordanian public the integral role that tourism has in the national economy. Implementation of the first phase is taking the form of delivering targeted key tourism messages and information through print media, awareness workshops and seminars spearheaded in nine tourist cluster-areas: Amman, Madaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Karak, Jerash, Ajloun, and Salt. It will also entail a national tourism poster competition for school children and other activities.  This will be followed by two more phases, with the second starting in 2008, and the third phase following that.


Back to Top