Ibrahim Al Mubaidin
Amman- Today it is no longer possible to renounce the means of communication, technology and the Internet in all economic sectors, including the tourism sector, which experts confirmed has become its adoption of digital transformation under the concept of “digital tourism” a necessity and not a luxury in a digital world whose development and growth is accelerating to include in its records almost five billion Internet users, including about ten million users in Jordan.
The experts emphasized the importance of the government and the private sector exploiting the concept of “digital tourism” with its various advanced technologies and tools, which in the coming years will be a lever and a major contributor to the income of the tourism sector and its sub-sectors such as: hotels, travel and tourism offices, restaurants and others, and other related sectors such as Information and communication technology, transport and commercial sectors.
They pointed to the importance of adopting “digital tourism” to promote the Kingdom and its tourism experiences, while at the same time working to overcome the historical challenges facing the sector, such as the energy challenge, investment to encourage in the sector and sectors related to the to the tourism sector, especially because we are going through the stage of recovery of the sector after the Corona pandemic and the middle of the Corona pandemic. Intense competition that Jordan faces from strong tourist destinations such as Dubai, Turkey, Egypt and other tourist destinations trying to obtain the largest share of world tourists, whose number in the first quarter of this year is almost 117 million tourists in the countries of the reached the world
The choice of tourism as an important sector within the vision of economic modernization came as a clear message of the importance of the sector, which has always had a significant contribution to GDP, created jobs for Jordanians and local communities empower. contribute to improving the economic impact of the sector.
The priorities for the sector in the vision are the continuation of the development of the tourism product and the improvement of its competitiveness, the development of the infrastructure for tourist sites, the improvement of tourism transport services and the development of educational and training curricula related to the tourism sector , included.
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Al-Fayez, emphasized the importance of the digitization of the tourism sector, which, according to him, first of all requires “the presence of a will and a decision in this direction,” noting that this condition is fully met. , because the government has already started down this path and made progress towards the ultimate goal, which is the integrated smart system. Which includes smart cities for tourism, and connecting all tourist sites with this system, so that access to these sites becomes available, while offering possibilities to buy all services from tickets and reservation of restaurants, hotels and tourist cars or to book group trips and even gifts for sale at shops.
In response to Al-Ghad’s questions, the minister said: “In reality, Jordan cannot act alone in this context. Rather, our policy is aimed at taking advantage of global platforms and electronic systems, the most important of which is GPS, and platforms such as Expedia and Trip Advisor.” Adviser. And Jordan, with all the components of his tourism product that I mentioned, are registered on these sites, which is why we have recently seen an increase in the number of individuals, not just groups, who book and pay everything before arrival, and this trend has been reinforced with the rise of low-cost flying. As a result, we follow and respond to developments in the world of tourism and changing consumer patterns.”
Al-Fayez highlighted Jordan’s distinction in the field of technology and communication in terms of infrastructure, software, availability of cheap communication and the presence of creative minds in this field, highlighting the ministry’s communication with the Ministry of Digital Economy and leadership to exploit these abilities. optimal to activate tourism marketing.
He pointed out that one of the most important tourism projects previously, which is the unified ticket for more than 40 tourist sites, has been digitized, in addition to linking it with residence and borders, and two new projects are now being worked on: the expansion of the electronic ticket project for tourist sites and the digital evaluation of these sites.
He explained that the digitization of the tourism sector is linked to the expectations of the visitor. He wants everything to be ready and available, and the nature of the service and its cost known in advance, and he does not want to be cut off from the world, especially family and friends at home. The most important topic here, which poses a big challenge to us as tourism policy makers and regulators, and to every service provider, is that the platforms we mentioned highlight user ratings, and therefore everyone who plans to visit any country looks at these ratings and bases their decisions mostly on them. If we want to surpass others in the competition for visitors, we must pay attention to every detail, which requires constant communication between the public and private sectors and relevant civil organizations to work in a team spirit, and the interests of the country and the interests of all partners are of course in mind.
Al-Fayez emphasized that building the digitization of the tourism sector motivates more people around the world to visit Jordan and share their experiences with others through social media. It is economically very important for the Kingdom, especially with the existence of a tourism strategy covering the period between 2021 and 2025, which aims to reach the record number achieved in 2019 of 5.3 million tourists, with income of 4.1 billion dinars, and exceeds it. with the completion of the implementation of the national strategy for tourism after three years.
He added: “It should also be mentioned that the sector managed to contribute directly and indirectly to the GDP by 13 percent in 2019, while the number of workers in this sector exceeded 55 thousand. We are talking about a very important strategic sector, and any step in the right direction, such as taking advantage of digital developments worldwide, is in the highest national interest. We have a strong example of a digital project, which is the unified ticket, which is purchased electronically, and the project was launched at the end of 2015, with revenues exceeding $70 million today.
Global studies indicate that every day the world is witnessing a tremendous development for the use of technological tools, especially in the tourism industry, which is at the forefront of technological innovation, at a time when companies are allocating huge budgets to be in this aspect to invest. in order to improve the customer experience Aviation in information technology around the world is about 30 billion dollars.
Studies confirm that it is expected that these large investments will be compensated by the application of technology that will contribute to achieving large savings of 30 billion dollars in the next 15 years.
The former head of the Federation of Jordanian Tourist Associations, Michel Nazzal, believes that the past two years have been difficult for the tourism sector in the world and Jordan, and today we must take advantage of Jordan’s tourism advantages in terms of geographical location, climate and infrastructure, and the number of tourist sites that Jordan enjoys: archaeological and religious Up to twenty-eight thousand archaeological sites, so that Jordan is in the rightful position on the world tourism map.
Nazzal said that we must work in two directions: the first is to overcome the traditional challenges facing the sector, including the challenge of energy, cost, poor investment in the sector and other challenges, in addition to working on adapting technology and concepts of digital tourism, adapting current technology tools, and following new developments to serve the tourism sector.
He emphasized the importance of working on the two tracks to face the intense competition we are experiencing from countries and tourist destinations in the region and the world, such as Dubai, Egypt and Turkey, which preceded us in the development and increasing the competitiveness of the tourism sector therein.
Nazzal estimated that the concepts of digital tourism are applied locally at a rate of up to seventy percent, but he emphasized that we must work to increase the percentage and take advantage of everything that is technically new in the sectors of hotels, restaurants, tourist transport, tourism offices and other sub-sectors of tourism, because working in these sectors according to traditional methods will threaten the sector and leave it behind compared to the countries of the world, with the importance of working on the development of our tourist sites and increasing the level of services that will remain present in the tourist site and in the sectors related to the service of the tourist.
He pointed to the importance of improving the tourism content in Jordan and the sites in Jordan, and providing digital services in the reservation and for all parts of the tourist trip in a way that the tourist from the stage of selection and registration to the stage lit. of electronic payment, and the exploitation of global platforms for marketing and promotion of tourism sites and services.
Hind Khleifat, founder and CEO of Allo Cloud, which specializes in digital content and social media, said that digital transformation in all sectors is now a necessity of life and no longer an option, and the tourism sector is one of these sectors that must offer modern technologies and digitization voluntarily to serve the sector and its development and service for local and foreign tourists.
Khleifat indicated that the completion of part or all of the tourism procedures in the area of reservations and registration, the pre-examination of the experience, or even providing the degree of customer satisfaction to tourism service providers is a necessary and necessary part of the factors for the success and popularity of tourism products and services.
She emphasized that the tourism experiences and products of which digitization is not a part will have to struggle for survival, pointing out that in Jordan we have digital tourism programs to a large extent, such as the national program to support local tourism.
In the field of medical tourism, the Director of Business Development at Medex Jordan, the digital platform concerned with medical and hospital tourism, emphasized the importance of adopting modern technologies to serve the tourism sector and the medical tourism sector in Jordan in particular, stressing that those those who do not invest and adopt these trends will be left behind, left behind and left behind.
Al-Nashashibi said that the importance of modern technology is to provide “convenience” to the user and the student of tourism services in general and medical tourism services.
The founder of the “Asfar” app, Yasser Mahyar, said that smart apps and the process of technological development are playing a major role in the global tourism industry today, as they are best able to meet all the requirements of the tourist. accommodate and meet his desires. , which is also witnessing a distinct change in recent years.
Mehyar pointed out that today smart applications have become a reality that needs to be dealt with, as many of them specialize in areas that will help both tourists and tourism entrepreneurs.