Unemployment is a significant issue in Jordan, with the Department of Statistics reporting an unemployment rate of 24.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021. Youth unemployment, in particular, was even higher, reaching 47.3% for individuals aged 15 to 24.
The tourism sector has long been an essential component of the Jordanian economy, providing employment opportunities and generating revenue. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism contributed 7.3% of the country's GDP in 2019 and employed 116,000 people. The Jordanian government has made efforts to promote tourism and attract visitors through measures such as visa exemptions, infrastructure development, and investment in cultural and historical sites.
However, despite these efforts, some areas in Jordan, including Al-Tafilah, do not receive a sufficient number of tourists. This has had a negative impact on the local economy and employment opportunities, especially for tourism graduates and women who produce local handicrafts and products.
Al-Tafilah governorate boasts numerous historical and tourist attractions, including the Afra mineral baths, the diverse climate of Dana Reserve, Al-Tafilah Castle, and many other historical, cultural, and religious sites. This makes it a potential tourist destination capable of promoting economic development, which is currently lacking in terms of developmental programs.
Most of the tourist sites in the governorate are not adequately represented on the Jordanian tourist map, and their significance is often overlooked, with deteriorating landmarks as evidence.
According to a report from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Al-Tafilah welcomed only 12,173 tourists in 2019, in stark contrast to Petra, the most popular destination, which received 979,586 tourists during the same year. Consequently, graduates of tourism colleges in Al-Tafilah struggle to find employment in their field. Women who engage in handicrafts or produce local products for sale also suffer due to the lack of tourists, as they primarily rely on visitors to sell their products.
Hence, the 'Al-Tafilah: Our Destination' campaign was launched as a tourism initiative to highlight the essential tourist, historical, and cultural landmarks in the Al-Tafilah governorate by shedding light on these areas.