EBRD helps Jordan’s tourism sector recover

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • Mandatory online training for over 20,000  employees in hospitality sector
  • EBRD partners with government and business associations
  • Training critical for safe re-opening of the tourism sector

More than 20,000 employees in Jordan’s critical tourism industry are to benefit from extra training provided under a programme launched by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MOTA) and the Sector Skills Council for Hospitality and Tourism (SSC).

Jordan’s tourism and hospitality sector, which generates more than 13 per cent of the country’s GDP and is a major employer, has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The training addresses the key steps the sector needs to take in order to ensure the safety of guests and staff as the country reactivates its economy.

The EBRD supported the development of the online training course, which is available in Arabic and English on the SSC website to all workers in the hospitality sector. MOTA endorsed it and requested that all tourism enterprises ensured their employees were trained and compliant with the SSC standard operating procedures.

So far, more than 3,500 employees have been trained on health and safety measures and 115 have been trained on implementing standard operating procedures to limit coronavirus spread.

The EBRD is further supporting the training of 80 qualified inspectors on best practices, focusing on standard operating procedures devised by the Ministry with input from the SSC.

The Bank is also providing training for focal points employees on how to apply these procedures in the work place, including implementing social distancing, sterilising public areas and ensuring food safety. All these measures will help limit the spread of the virus and contribute to a safe environment.

Majd Shweikeh, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, commented: “Opening the tourism and hospitality sector would not have been possible without the tremendous efforts the government has made to contain the spread of coronavirus. The EBRD support in training the labour force complements the measures put in place by the government to ensure that employees are well equipped and prepared to respond to the changing behaviour of tourists and customers.”

Jordan received the “Safe Travels” stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of the efficient safety measures that the government and its partners have implemented. 

The specially designed stamp allows travellers to recognise those governments and companies around the world that have adopted global standardised health and hygiene protocols.

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, added: “We are very proud to support the Jordanian economy and the development of an inclusive and sustainable tourism sector. We are contributing not only with our investments but also by enhancing skills for the recovery. Thanks to the authorities’ support we have been able to launch this training quickly.”

The EBRD helped establish the SSC in 2018, the first tourism and hospitality sector skills organisation in Jordan. The body, formed by the private sector and professional associations with public sector participation, promotes the development of skills needed to boost the local tourism and hospitality industry.

Since 2012, the EBRD has provided close to €1.5 billion in 50 projects throughout Jordan, of which 73 per cent are in the private sector.

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