72 hours in Jordan

11 October 2010

AmmanTo demonstrate how social media can be utilized to promote tourism, international digital strategist Jesse Desjardins spent the last 72 hours touring and exploring Jordan and sharing his experiences online. The activity was organized by the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project II ahead of a conference on e-business for the tourism sector to be held later this week. Throughout the tour, Jesse blogged, tweeted, updated, posted and uploaded as he went, sharing his travel experiences online.


“ ‘72 hours in Jordan’ is a fantastic way to attract tourists to Jordan; it reaches a huge market of potential travelers and gives them a real taste of what is waiting for them here through the personal experiences of one traveler,” explained Maha Mousa, USAID Office of Economic Growth.


Jesse began his trip in Jordan’s modern capital, stepping back thousands of years as he explored the historic layers of the Citadel. From browsing around downtown and sipping cups of mint tea to dining at some of the city’s trendiest nightspots, the experience was diverse. Jesse’s adventure-packed three-day tour then took him from Amman to the quaint town of Madaba and on to the Baptism site. After floating in the Dead Sea, he travelled along the ancient King’s Highway, stopping at Dana Nature Reserve before walking one of the trails of the Nabataean wonder of Petra. In the alluring sandstone desert of Wadi Rum, Jesse got a taste of Bedouin hospitality, along with a little of the adventure on offer as he took in the desert from the skies in a hot air balloon and microlite plane. He explored the Red Sea resort of Aqaba and snorkeled along the coral reefs and took up some water sports there.


Exploring the culture, learning the history and interacting with the hospitable Jordanians, Jesse blogged extensively about his tour and shared his thoughts and comments with the world through several social media platforms.


Back in Amman, following his intensive three-day trip, Jesse was impressed by what he saw. “Jordan is absolutely amazing and there’s too much to do here in three days. There is so much history, and the hospitality – I’ve never seen hospitality like this before,” he said.


Visitors to the 72 Hours in Jordan Facebook page will notice a gnome that appears in many of Jesse’s photos. This is the Travelocity gnome, which travels all around the world and had never been to Jordan before. Jesse explained, “The gnome was given to me as a gift by Travelocity and it has brought me good luck as I travel. So I brought him to Jordan and photographed him in front of all the main sites I visited, and will be sending these to Travelocity.”


Jesse’s experience and the responses and interest generated by his social media content will be presented and discussed at the upcoming e-business conference to highlight how social media can be measured in business and conversion terms and how powerful it can be for driving actual sales. Fresh from Paris, he brings insights on what the biggest brands are doing online, and how the tourism industry can embrace social media as the biggest marketing opportunity of our time.


A true globetrotter and the ultimate connected traveler and social media super-geek, Jesse has spent the past four years travelling the world consulting for clients throughout the advertising and tourism industry. In 2009 he won ‘48 Hours In Denmark’, an online competition set out to find the ultimate traveler to advise the Danish tourism industry on the future of travel.