Social media is a cost-effective tool that can be utilised to the maximum to promote Jordan as a tourist destination  abroad, officials said on Tuesday.
“Jordan has so much to offer in terms of tourism,” US Ambassador Stuart E. Jones said, adding that Americans, Europeans and others who come to the country, “love to be here and they enjoy the experience”.
“We want to help them [tourists] find this experience and a great way to do it is through social media,” Jones noted.
The ambassador made the remarks at the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the USAID Economic Growth Through Sustainable Tourism Project and the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB). 
Under the memo, USAID will provide JTB with a series of grants to strengthen the promotion of Jordan as a tourist destination in the European, North American and Mexican markets.
The grants will help JTB use social media, as well as online and direct marketing to reach new groups of potential tourists abroad.
Marketing efforts will also include revamping the online Jordan Travel Agent Academy to help North American travel agents market Jordan; developing Spanish-language promotional content to reach travellers in Mexico and the US; hosting press trips for travel writers; and increasing Jordan’s exposure with US tour operators.
“The grants will also fund TripAdvisor campaigns in Europe, the US and Mexico,” a USAID statement said.
Marketing Jordan as a tourism destination  is a key element for the growth of the sector, Minister of Labour and Tourism Nidal Katamine, said at the signing ceremony.
Addressing tourism representatives, the minister noted that a number of activities are planned over the next few months which take advantage of current marketing trends.
“We are happy to see that the joint partnership between JTB and the USAID Tourism Project is working on different marketing strategies," added Katamine, who is chairman of the JTB.
During the past eight years, USAID has provided over JD256,811 ($362,727) to support the promotion of Jordan in global markets, the statement quoted USAID/Jordan Mission Director Beth Paige as saying.
“This has introduced people throughout the world to Jordan’s spectacular landscape and ancient treasures,” she added.
According to Tourism Ministry figures, the number of tourists who visited Jordan last year dropped by 14 per cent compared to 2012.
The marketing initiatives implemented by JTB, with support from USAID, should increase the number of tourists visiting Jordan , the statement quoted JTB Director General Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat as saying. “North America is a major tourism market for Jordan with huge potential for growth,” he noted.