Raising awareness with awe-inspring footage may not be enough to bring in travelers when fear is an issue, but it can help redefine armchair tourism.
Jordan isn’t having and easy time with tourism.
It’s a relatively safe country filled with archeological treasures and good tourism infrastructure. But it’s also bordered by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank, and Israel.
For two decades now it’s turned an appearance in the film, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” into a strong tourism marketing position for Petra, Jordan, the country’s most popular attraction. Now it’s hoping video techniques from the 21st century can help lift it out of the doldrums. During the spring, Jordan Tourism Board worked with the content marketing team at Matador Network to shoot multiple drone videos of its top attractions.
“After the success of Matador’s ‘Palawan from the Air,’ the Jordan Tourism Board decided to lobby the government to grant Matador filmmakers special permission to bring two 4K drones into the country and fly over and through all of Jordan’s most sacred sites,” says Ross Borden, CEO of the Matador Network.
Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities previously gave permission for archeologists to fly camera drones over Fifa, an ancient cemetery, to counter looting with surveillance, but drone footage in this country has not been published online before.
“Permits are not easy to come by, and luckily we had the cooperation with our partner to help facilitate that but I don’t think that because we did it, they [Jordanian government] will say, ‘open the floodgates everyone else can bring in their drones,'” said Borden.
These permits likely will be granted on a case-by-case basis, he says.
The Jordan Tourism Board has experimented with new ways to leverage digital media marketing. The board relies on social media to create awareness and, supported by annual grants from USAID Economic Growth Through Sustainable Tourism Project, it attracts visitors from the U.S., Mexico and Europe.
The World Bank reported that Jordan had approximately 4 million visitors in 2013, but Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities states total arrivals, including air, land, and sea, remained flat in 2014 at 7 million. Diving deeper, arrivals by air from the U.S. rose by nearly five percent to 168,011, and by one percent to 348,425 from Europe in 2014.
“Jordan was getting a pretty bad rap because of its location. And, I also heard that it wasn’t a hotspot itself,” said Borden.
The goal of the video is to bring awareness to the region, but realistically, promoting its attractions as safe places to visit isn’t as inspiring as the vistas from the mountains, desert and biblically significant sites.
Video of Jordan from the Air:
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Photo credit: A video still from "Jordan from the Air" series. Matador Network