Summer abounds with events, including graduation ceremonies from schools and universities, weddings, as well as official festivals that are held annually and attended by a large or a small number of people depending on the event itself, its timing, and venue. But, out of my continued interest in tourism in its various forms--especially religious and medical tourism, as well as tourism that is referred to as “the tourism of festivals" which I addressed earlier on December 4, 2016-- this summer there is what is known as the tourism of festivals.
This tourism flourishes in societies depending on the security situation which is characterized by peace and stability, otherwise there is no place for such activities. Thus, we appreciate the security efforts shouldered by security men and women in our beloved country who exert every possible effort to maintain and sustain the stable security of the homeland with the grace of the Almighty God. Apart from the security situation, I proceed to the health situation which has improved, praise be to God, although adopting precautionary measures is inevitable, especially after the emergence of new viral mutants in the world. Likewise, the appreciation goes to the Ministry of Culture which is making a wonderful effort at the national level in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and the Jordan Tourism Board, especially in the wake of Jordan’s centenary celebration, marking Irbid as the capital of Arab culture, nomination of Salt to the World Heritage List, and naming Madaba as the Arab Tourism Capital.
The tourism of festivals involves people from within the country, where tourist buses are activated and restaurants become engaged. It also involves expatriates who come to spend the summer vacation with families and loved ones. But the question is: Do these festivals attract brethren and friends from fraternal Arab and friendly foreign countries? Do the tourism offices include attendance of festivals in the schedule of tourists and pilgrims currently living in Jordan? At the end of a day full of visits to archaeological sites, tourists need beautiful and distinguished entertainment. So, do the organizers of conference programs have in mind launching functionaries that meet the taste of visitors who come from abroad?
The last note, is the need to have these festivals held within a comprehensive national programs. This year, festivals were held simultaneously which affects attendance. What we call for is availing a calendar to be approved at the beginning of the year, so that there is no overlap or conflict in the dates of festivals and major artistic gatherings, whether they are supervised by official authorities, or are within the activities of institutions affiliated with the private sector. In the end, the concern is namely focused on raising the name of the homeland high, by promoting the artistic movement, and finding job opportunities for a number of our youths in this season of art par excellence.
We plead with the Almighty God to keep this country safe, and to attract visitors and people of art from all over the world, especially from the Arab world, and not to forget, of course, the Jordanian artists, whom all of us, as one family, have a duty to enhance their presence and encourage their creativity. This has already happened in this summer's festivals, and it is called on to attain further encouragement and motivation.