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Jordan Tourism Board, Venture X launch accelerator to help tourism start-ups

By JT - Jul 23,2020 - Last updated at Jul 23,2020

The tourism industry is one of the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic with nearly 75 million jobs at risk globally, according to the Jordan Tourism Board (Photo courtesy of the JTB)

AMMAN — The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Venture X to create a strategic partnership allowing for the launch of a tourism dedicated start-up accelerator.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly jeopardised the tourism industry worldwide, the accelerator programme seeks to “fortify the position of global tourism from Jordan and push the national plan for the revival of the tourism”, according to a JTB statement.

The tourism industry is one of the hardest hit sectors with nearly 75 million jobs at risk globally, the statement said.

The World Tourism Organisation predicts a fall of 60 to 80 per cent in international tourist numbers in 2020 alone, which is equal to a loss of 850 million to 1.1 billion international travellers, the statement said.

The UN agency also estimates a decline of “$910 billion to $1.2 trillion in world’s export revenues” from the sector, insinuating that a complete recovery is not possible before 2021-2022, read the statement.

Under these circumstances with greater virus curtailment measures — such as compulsory COVID-19 tests and quarantine for tourists from the worst affected areas — “the travel experience is likely to get more gruelling, tiresome and demotivating”. 

This situation creates even more job uncertainty for those directly associated with the sector, such as workers in the transport and hotel industries, noted the statement.

“Jordan’s tourism industry made great strides in the preceding years with a wider acknowledgement and interest from all corners,” the statement said.  

The accelerator will be a highly selective, equity based three-month programme for the most promising technology start-ups, or pre-scaleups that can power the travel and tourism industry, the JTB said.

The accelerator programme will be looking for the very best in innovation and are particularly interested in companies that are developing solutions to “future-proof” the travel and tourism industry and help tourism companies thrive in the new normal brought about by COVID-19, the statement said. 

The selected companies will gain “unparalleled access” to work with some of region’s and the world’s most important industry players.  They will undergo a three-month intensive accelerator programme identifying a potential pilot project and scope, followed by three months of pilot implementation with selected industry partners for the top 10 companies, according to the statement. 

The programme will be looking for promising start-ups and pre-scaleups that can attract quality tourists to Jordan, “future-proof” travel and tourism businesses in Jordan for “the new normal” brought about by COVID-19 and generate productivity gains and cost savings for tourism businesses, among other criteria.

Managing Director of the JTB Abdul Razzaq Arabiat said: “This partnership is a response to the challenges ahead, and my team, is going to assist these projects by using our media and marketing tools.”

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

 

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