Amman– As part of efforts to promote tourism and hospitality as a career option among Jordanians students, especially women, the USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project has awarded scholarships to 17 students to study hospitality at the Jordan Hotel School (JHS).
“Young Jordanians are an important element of efforts to develop Jordan’s tourism sector, and without their commitment and support we cannot achieve the potential and success we aspire to,” said H.E. Zeid Goussous, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, adding that, “These scholarships encourage students to get involved in the sector.” The minister also highlighted the need to encourage students to take up hospitality studies in order to meet the tourism sector demand for specialized skills and enter well-paying careers. He explained that, “There is a need for about 3000 specialized workers in the hotel and hospitality sector in Jordan each year, and currently the Kingdom relies on foreign workers to fill most of these jobs. This is an indication of the opportunity that exists in the hospitality sector for graduates who have the needed skills.”
Mr. Michael Nazzal, Chairman of the Federation of Tourism Associations, expressed appreciation for this partnership with the USAID tourism project to develop tourism education, explaining that, “It is vital to the development of tourism that the sector is staffed by well-trained Jordanians, and these scholarships help young students to develop the skills needed to work in tourism.”
"I'd like to thank the USAID tourism project for their continuous support. The generous grant offered invaluable assistance to the school in order for it to fulfill its mission in supplying the hospitality industry with highly trained and skillful students," said Ms. Tamara Al Nabulsi, principal of the Jordan Hotel School. The USAID tourism project also implemented awareness session at JHS to introduce students to the tourism and hospitality sector and the careers that if offers. Commenting on the awareness session she said, "The JHS students valued the awareness session as it emphasizes opportunities and prospective of joining the tourism and hospitality industry in Jordan."
"Promoting hospitality education and raising the level of awareness among students about the importance of tourism will help increase the number of qualified graduates seeking work in the hospitality industry and thus meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the sector," said Mr. Ibrahim Osta, USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project Chief of Party. "This will ultimately raise the quality of services provided to tourists and, therefore, enhance the visitor experience," he added.
Three months ago, a marketing campaign was launched to promote the scholarships and the JHS programs. The USAID Tourism Project supported the campaigns through running advertisements in local radio station and newspapers. There was a lot of interest in the program, and applications were assessed based on financial need in order to select the 17 students who received the scholarships.
The awareness session held by the USAID tourism project was attended by 90 JHS students and helped them get a clearer perspective of what the sector can offer.
Rahaf Al Johary, an 11th grade student, said she learned many facts about tourism through the session, which she repeated in class to her colleagues, such as the number of tourist arrivals, efforts to develop new tourism sites and tourism investment initiatives in addition to others. "I also felt more encouraged to pursue my career path in the hospitality sector after I discovered that I can easily find a job opportunity, knowing that the industry is expanding and there is a large need for qualified workers, especially females," Rahaf commented.
Sixteen year-old Jawad Abu Obeid also attended the session and said, "It was interesting to learn about other sectors related to tourism and how many other careers indirectly link to tourism." Since he was a child, Jawad has imagined himself working in a profession where he deals with tourists and now he is realizing his dream. He added, "There is no shame in working in a hotel or a restaurant, and it doesn't contradict with religion."
The JHS offers a two-year high school diploma that qualifies students to work in the hospitality industry or continue their education at universities and colleges that offer specialties in tourism and hospitality. The school also offers practical training in industry in addition to the theoretical part of the program.