Souad Massi brings the Al Balad Music Festival to a resounding close!

A small team of us went to watch the Souad Massi concert yesterday which was held at the Roman Theatre. Part of the Al Balad Festival, an annual week long celebration of Arabic Musicians and artists from around the region, the show was spectacular for its setting amongst the ancient Roman Ruins and for the artist herself who bedazzled the audience. Souad Massi is an Algerian singer who began her career as part of the Political rock band Atakor. She later branched out and started her solo career and has developed a very unique sound combining acoustic guitars, oriental instruments, rock, fado and African music stylings. Singing in three languages (Arabic, English and Berber), she performed for around 75 minutes bringing the Al Balad Music Festival show to a close for 2011. See some of our pictures taken from the show last night below Read More

A Hotbed of Innovation!

Subrat Mohapatra's reflections on his recent travels to Jordan reveal the changing perceptions that Tourists form of Jordan during their holidays. His highlight? Nope not Petra... But rather, the Dead Sea... Traditionally known for its most famous archaeological site, the City of Petra, Jordan has sometimes struggled to shake off the image as a one-trick pony. The site made its first introduction on the international  stage after Henry and Indiana Jones rode in to meet the excavator Sallah in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" back in 1984 (Link to the video). Albeit, it wasn’t until 2007 that the number of visitors to Petra sky-rocketed with its nomination into the New Seven Wonders of the World (between 2006 and 2007 alone, the increase in the number of visitors was just over 62%)! Petrahas served the Kingdom extremely well, brining much needed foreign currency and revenue to the Tourism and Services industry in Jordan. In a country where tourism accounts for over 19% of GDP and has brought in over USD $3.4 billion in 2010, its easy to see just why Petra is such a national treasure. As with most things however, the “Petra conundrum” is a double edged-sword. Jordan is Petra and Petra is Jordan but is that all Jordan has to offer? The answer most Jordanians will tell you is a resounding “NO!”. A large number of guests visiting Petra, particularly from long-haul destinations (North/South America, Australia, Asia), have tended to tag-on Petra as a day or two day excursion from either Egypt or Israel, missing out on the many other sites that the Kingdom has to offer. The good news? This is now slowly changing! The efforts of both the private and public sector in promoting the destination as a stand-alone destination have started to bear fruit. In-bound operators, tourism boards, NGO’s and new organizations have done a sublime job at showcasing many of the different facets and sites of Jordan. The vast desert of Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea a ... Read More

Allenby Border (Sheikh Hussein Bridge) border open

Good day from JITOA. Kindly note that we have checked with the ShikhHussien Bridge (Allenby), and they just informed us that this announcement below has been canceled, and there is no closure. Please take note accordingly. اغلاق جسر الملك حسين للمسافرين والشحن من مساء الاربعاء حتى صباح الخميس أعلنت مديرية الامن العام إغلاق جسر الملك حسين امام حركة المسافرين القادمين والمغادرين، وحركة الشحن من الساعة الثامنة من مساء بعد غد الاربعاء، حتى صباح الخميس الذي يليه. واشار المكتب الإعلامي في المديرية في بيان له امس الى ان الجسر سيكون مفتوحا منذ الساعة السابعة والنصف صباح الاربعاء امام حركة الدبلوماسيين، وموظفي الامم المتحدة فقط Read More

Jordan's King Abdullah II highlights importance of tourism services

His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday stressed the importance of providing quality services and facilities for Arab and foreign tourists visiting Jordan as well as the need to upgrade amenities at border crossings.  During a meeting to discuss the national tourism plan for the summer, the King directed the concerned tourism entities to pay special attention to visitor services to ensure the success of the season, according to a Royal Court statement.  Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, who was present at the meeting, pointed out that the government has held several meetings with sector representatives to discuss measures to boost tourism.  To read the full article click here Read More

Kate Middleton and her time in Jordan

Kate Middleton and her team have released images of the time her and her family spent in Jordan whilst her father was working with British Airways.  In the immediate aftermath of the Royal Wedding, it was murmured that the Royal Couple would travel to Jordan for their Honeymoon! The buzz was tangible in the Kingdom with operators thrilled at the opportunity to showcase Jordanian hospitality at its finest! Alas the Royal Couple decided to go to the Seychelles, however the buzz surrounding the wedding is still noticeable here in the Capital.  The Dailymail has released pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge’ time in Jordan. To see these, please click here. Read More

Wadi Rum Full Moon Desert Marathon a Success!

This year more than 150 runners took part in this year’s Full Moon Desert Marathon set against the spectacular landscape of Wadi Rum on 13 May 2011. Guido Romero and Bishr Sakkal who have organised the run since 2008, said, ”This event is unique as it takes place at an exceptional location at a special time but this year we’re adding a more competitive element by timing all our runners which means they can truly measure their performance, both against their personal bests and against friends and family”. Since its inception four years ago, the Full Moon Desert Marathon has been steadily attracting more participants with this year’s run seeing registrations from as far away as the USA and Holland. The 2011 Full Moon Desert Run is sponsored by ASEZA, Coca Cola, Condotte, Jordan Tourism Board, Monster Energy Drink, Mood 92 and Royal Jordanian. We here at UTA thoroughly enjoyed working with the Marathon Team! To find out more information on next years run and how you can enroll, please click here For user images of the Marathon, click here. Read More

In Amman on the 6th of July? Check out the Photo-Palette Exhibition

Cafe des Artistes, a local coffee shop on Rainbow street is hosting a photography exhibition on the 6th of May starting at 22:30.   The exhibition has a unique spin. The images on display were all shot by local artists (Bashar Alaeddin, Hasan Damouni, Ibraheem Shaheen and Murad al Mousa) with each photographer focusing on one colour each.   For more details on this event, click here  Read More

The 11 Views of Jordan - brought to you by Frommers!

Anuja Madar, a travel correspondent from Frommers recently travelled to Jordan and documented her recent tour and commented that: '" Life is beautiful when you understand it," I was told during an impromptu Arabic lesson under a blanket of stars in Wadi Rum. At the time, I was focused more on getting the pronunciation right ("El donya helwa, bs nefhamha"), but after returning from a week in Jordan, I realized that this applied to what's currently happening in the region. In a time of revolutions, violence, and instability in the Middle East, one local likened the country's position as watching a game of ping-pong, anxiously looking back and forth to its neighbors to see what will happen. The rest of the world, however, has looked on and decided (in some cases, rightly so) that the region's not safe. But when it comes to Jordan, where protests were taking place the day before I arrived, I found a beautiful and diverse tourist-friendly destination with kind-hearted people and a calm that was far from the picture painted back home.' To see the 11 images of Jordan, click here Read More

Strauss comes to Amman!

On the 18th of July the Johann Strauss Orchestra came to Jordan to perform a one of a kind concert at the Citadel in Amman.  The Orchestra, led by the feverous conductor Hilbert Seibert delivered a rousing performance that included not only pieces from Strauss, but also Mozart and many more! Organised by the Friends of Jordan Festival, the 40 piece Orchestra stunned audiences with not only a qualitatively stunning musical performance (an audiophile would have been delighted) but also sophisticated entertainment ! Our particular highlights were the awesome performances of the 'Lucifer Waltz' and the evergreen 'Blue Danube'.  Hilbert Siebert and team, please come back again next year Read More

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