Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Tourism Management by Research

School

School of Business

Faculty

Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor Ross Dowling

Second Advisor

Dr Dale Sanders

Abstract

Tourism in Jordan is a service industry with enormous potential. However it has not been fully utilised and developed to generate increasing income for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a growing tourist destination. This research examines the current tourism environment to identify obstacles that hinder its enhancement. The study investigates both domestic and international tourism in Jordan and makes recommendations to resolve the obstacles identified.

A previous study highlighted ten main obstacles to tourism in Jordan, and attempted to make viable recommendations to resolve them in the short to medium term. This study involved a series of questions and discussions around the views of the Jordanian tourism industry and the local community on the topic. Participants were recruited for two different sample groups. Sample 1 comprised of 12 stakeholders which included respondents who were involved in the tourism industry in Jordan who provided insightful information in support of the research objectives. Sample 2 was a further 18 respondents which included respondents from the local community and tourists in Jordan who had a different point of view on these obstacles.

The overall aim of this research was to explore the significance of the obstacles to tourism development in Jordan. The study was designed to answer the question: “What are the stakeholders’ perceptions of the obstacles to tourism development in Jordan?” The study had four main objectives:

1. To investigate stakeholders’ perceptions of the barriers to tourism development;

2. To identify the significance of the barriers to growth, both internationally and domestically;

3. To identify the approaches taken by stakeholders to address the barriers; and

4. To identify emerging international and domestic markets.

Questionnaires distributed between 2011 and 2012 revealed that:

  • Bylaws in Jordan constrain the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) in their efforts to act; thereby hindering the JTB's ability to promote Jordan domestically.
  • The lack of international promotional and marketing campaigns was identified as the most important deterrent by Sample 1 stakeholders.
  • The lack of funding for developing international tourism was regarded as an important obstacle by Sample 1 participants.
  • The false impression of Jordan as an unsafe destination for international tourists was ranked the most important obstacle by Sample 2 participants.
  • Sample 2 stakeholders in general blamed the weak structure of many organisations involved in tourism development in Jordan for the obstacles that inhibit tourism, as decision-making is often prohibited by bylaws.

This research will give the Jordanian Tourism Board an opportunity to improve the tourism sector and generate increased revenue to further promote Jordan as a tourist destination, both domestically and internationally. At the time of this study there was no strong evidence to indicate that stakeholder organisations were working together to overcome the obstacles. Furthermore, the local communities in Jordan felt justified to increase prices at tourist attractions, resulting in tourists feeling exploited, thereby alienating visitors.

It is clear from this study that Jordan is a developing country with huge, untapped potential as a tourist destination. This research puts the spotlight on tourism in Jordan and identifies the obstacles that hinder tourism development. It does so by examining the perceptions of tourism stakeholders in the industry in Jordan, as well as those of the local communities and tourists to the country.

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