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Amman’s ‘hidden gems’ exposed under out-of-the-box initiative

The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) on Monday launched a campaign to promote tourism in the city of Amman, under the title “#Amman24”, which has triggered tremendous enthusiasm among a diversified audience worldwide, thanks to effective interaction by social media influencers. 

The event was praised by numerous social media users, including Her Majesty Queen Rania, who wrote: “Pleased to welcome the guests of #Amman24 to #Jordan. Enjoy your tour of our capital city! #LoveJO”.

The campaign, which aims to help Arab and foreign tourists discover new places in the capital, was set up within a 24-hour timeframe, during which visitors were taken around Amman to enjoy a number of interesting places and activities available in the city.

“We wanted to showcase Amman as a capital for tourists and show the world that we have many hidden gems to be discovered. We aimed to highlight the variety of culinary, artistic and cultural local experiences Amman has to offer, not only in 24 hours, but throughout the year,” said Abdal Razzaq Arabiyat, JTB’s managing director.

The JTB selected 20 Instagramers, bloggers and travel photographers from various countries to promote Jordan through pictures posted on their social media accounts.

“We chose individuals who are very influential on social media and whom had never been to Jordan before,” Alaa Hindi, director of digital marketing at JTB told The Jordan Times over the phone, noting that the social media influencers have an overall of 3 million followers altogether.

The group of 20, coming from Germany, Austria, Kuwait and Belgium, were taken around the city, starting with a morning visit to the Citadel, where they witnessed the early sunrise from atop the hill overlooking the old town.

After being welcomed by a traditional music band at the Jordan River Foundation, they were acquainted with the handicrafts produced by local women at the foundation, which is supported by Her Majesty Queen Rania.

The group then went on to get a taste of a traditional Jordanian breakfast at Shams Al Balad in Jabal Amman before continuing their journey to the Abdali Boulevard. 

They later explored the bustling streets of downtown Amman and the trendy spots of Rainbow Street.

“We tried to show them the two sides of Amman: the old city with downtown and Al Luweibdeh and the new Amman at the Boulevard, Abdoun etc,” Al Hindi explained, stressing the combinationof local and international influences showcased in the visit.

“As a food blogger who had never been to Jordan, I was thrilled to experience the local dining scene, the cafés, the Jordanian cuisine and the multiculturalism of the city,” said Talal Al Rashed, a well-known Instagramer and Snapchatter from Kuwait.

“It was truly the best way to discover the hidden local venues, the best street food and fine dining. Amman24 gave me the opportunity to meet a variety of people who are specialised in the city and had so many recommendations to give,” he told The Jordan Time in a phone interview.

Since the announcement of the Amman24 campaign, social media platforms have been flooded with locals posting recommendations and pictures of their beloved city, going from aerial shots of the Citadel at night, to renowned Hashem restaurant in downtown, and daily scenes of the streets of Jabal Amman.

Both locals and visitors took to Twitter to suggest their favourite places to visit in a day.

Displaying a picture of the famous Jordanian dishes including hummus, shakshooka, falafel and gallayet bandora (sliced tomato fried in olive oil), Lara Denian wrote: “When in #Amman for 24 hours make sure not to miss our delicious traditional breakfast meals! #Amman24”.

For her part, Maha Amro took to Twitter to say: “#Amman24 a must visit! Jordanians are hospitable, Amman is 100% safe! A hub of Middle Eastern arts and culture and the weather is your friend”.

“Up to Tuesday afternoon, the Arabic and English hashtags have reached more than 50 million mentions online, which is a tremendous success,” Al Hindi said, expressing his enthusiasm for similar events in the future.

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