Jordan teams up with Google in promoting Jordanian tourism


AMMAN – Ten government entities will use Google services to advertise and promote Jordan as a destination for tourists and investors over the next three years under a $10 million deal announced on Tuesday.

The local organisations will purchase keywords from the Internet search giant that will highlight their websites in search results, and Google will reinvest 25 per cent of the $10 million in the Kingdom’s IT sector, under the agreement.

“These governmental and semi-governmental organisations should utilise Google in a manner that serves tourism in the Kingdom and encourages investors to open businesses here,” Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Marwan Juma told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of G-Jordan Days.

The minister added that Google will provide intensive training to the Jordanian entities on the best methods of online marketing, underscoring the need for these organisations to improve their web content in order to provide user-friendly services.

“This is about finding people interested in what you have. If people can’t find you on the web they’ll go somewhere else. By purchasing keywords, you present yourself,” said Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, Google vice president for southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He noted that the reinvestment will be used to support young Jordanian entrepreneurs in the ICT sector, enhance ICT courses in universities, fund online content generating entities and collaborate with different institutions to provide coherent local content that reflects the country’s values.

“The Internet can be a very important vehicle for the development of economy and culture…We don’t want the web to be [solely] American or Anglo-Saxon,” he stated.

Juma noted that the deal has been under negotiation for a year and that His Majesty King Abdullah discussed it with Google Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt.

Describing the agreement as a “big step” in his company’s contributions to the Kingdom’s ICT sector, Ari Kesisoglu, Google regional manager in the Middle East and North Africa, said it was only “the beginning”, referring to the company’s intentions to form a long-term partnership with Jordan.

In a recent interview he told The Jordan Times that Google is on the lookout for any partnerships with local start-ups.

Institutions to benefit from the deal:

– Royal Jordanian

– Greater Amman Municipality

– Jordan Tourism Board

– Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority

– Jordan Investment Board

– King Abdullah Fund for Development

– Development Zones Commission

– King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau

– King Hussein Business Park

– Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority