AMMAN — The Local Tourism Experiences and Alternative Tourism Conference kicked off on Wednesday at the Dead Sea.

Organised by the Leaders International Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and with the support from the Embassy of the Netherlands, the conference aims to discuss local, cultural and environmental tourism experiences across the Kingdom.

The event aims to draw attention to the importance of alternative and sustainable tourism, notably its positive impact on local communities, the environment and the national economy.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Makram Al Queisi emphasised the importance of this conference in promoting local tourism experiences and their development, and acknowledged the key role of the tourism sector in the national economy, which contributes 14.6 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Highlighting the ministry's efforts to further strengthen this industry, he said that a series of comprehensive training programmes to equip individuals from local communities and service providers with the essential skills they need to thrive.

Jordan offers some 850 local experiences across its governorates, and conferences of this nature aim to provide unwavering support and a platform for their promotion, he said, adding "Jordan has 15,000 registered archaeological sites out of a 100,000. Each of these sites needs to be preserved and developed".

Ambassador of the Netherlands to Jordan Harry Verweij commended the diversity of tourist and archaeological spots in Jordan, and praised the generosity of the Jordanian people.

The Dutch government is firmly committed to supporting the tourism sector in Jordan and is eager to strengthen its partnership with the Kingdom in several areas, the envoy said.

On the sidelines of the conference opening, Queisi inaugurated a "B2B" market, an exhibition designed to showcase local experiences and industries.

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