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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 4 March 2021

Jordan launches accelerator to promote tourism start-ups

Collaboration between the country's tourism board and Venture X will take stakes in the most promising new businesses

The accelerator programme launched by the Jordan Tourism Board wants to identify companies that are developing solutions to help tourism companies thrive in the new normal brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Courtesy TCS World Travel
The accelerator programme launched by the Jordan Tourism Board wants to identify companies that are developing solutions to help tourism companies thrive in the new normal brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Courtesy TCS World Travel

Jordan Tourism Board has partnered with workspace operator Venture X to launch a dedicated accelerator for tourism start-ups.

The accelerator will be a “highly selective, equity-based three-month programme for the most promising technology start-ups or pre-scale-ups that can power the travel and tourism industry”, according to a statement from the tourism board on Wednesday.

“This partnership is a response to the challenges ahead,” Abdul Razzaq Arabiat, the board's managing director, said.

The accelerator programme is looking for innovative companies that are developing ways to “future-proof” Jordan’s travel and tourism industry, the statement said, as tourism companies look to rebound in the wake of Covid-19.

The collapse in international travel due to the pandemic led the global tourism industry to lose $1.3 trillion in export revenue, almost 11 times more than the loss recorded during the 2008 global economic crisis, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation.

Companies selected to take part will undergo a three-month intensive programme to identify a potential pilot project and scope, followed by three months of implementation working alongside the top 10 industry partners, the statement added.

“The pandemic is going to change the tourism industry,” Yousef Hamidaddin, managing partner of Venture X, said. “Innovative solutions will allow people to continue to travel and explore, which represents an opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups.”

Jordan was chosen by Lonely Planet as the Most Welcoming Destination of 2021. The country reopened to travellers in September 2020 after restrictions due to Covid-19. The tourism industry contributes 13 per cent to 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs almost 60,000 people.

The pandemic came months after a record-breaking year for tourism, with the kingdom attracting one million visitors and generating 4.1 billion Jordanian dinars ($5.8bn) in 2019.

Updated: February 3, 2021 04:45 PM

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