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Queen Rania: “Travelers are the greatest ambassadors of tolerance.”

Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan extends greetings to world media representatives traveling to Jordan for journalistic tourism. Press Conference on 25 March 2015 in Amman, Jordan.

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My husband a few years ago in maybe one of his earliest interviews once described Jordan as a country that is stuck between a rock and a hard place. I remember at the time thinking that, I hope that over the years, this hard place would soften up, and the rock would erode a little bit. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. As you can see our region is dominating the headlines for perhaps all the wrong reasons.

Maybe our region doesn’t feature as a travel hot spot, and that’s the very reason why I wanted to thank you all for taking the time and making the effort to come to Jordan yourselves to experience it first hand and to see that despite the tough neighborhood that’s around us, here in Jordan we just get on with it. For us, it’s business as usual, and that includes in the tourism sector as well.

I can take hours talking about what Jordan has to offer. From the history, the culture, the adventure, nature, health and wellness, religious tourism. In a nutshell, there’s something for everybody.

You might wonder why how come in Jordan we have managed to maintain this oasis despite the neighborhood around us. I would say that is not a coincidence. It is a result of the warmth of the people of Jordan which I think you have experienced. The attachment to their land, and their protectiveness over it.

In Jordan, a tourist is not just somebody you make money out of. A tourist is a guest. We have an expression in Arabic that says, (Arabic words) which means my home is your home. I’m sure you’ve experienced many people offering you a chai or a cup of Gahwa (Arabian coffee), and many insisting that they share a meal with you. One thing is for sure, that Jordan is not a place to visit if you’re hoping to loose weight, because you’re always going to be invited and always people insisting that you share a meal with them. … and really, those kinds of interactions with people are priceless, because at the end of the day when you visit a new country it isn’t just an opportunity to open your eyes to new places, it’s also an opportunity to open your mind to new experiences. Someone once said that a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

So, I hope that you all have wonderful experiences here in Jordan, and really I think that travelers are the greatest ambassadors of tolerance. If there was a need for tolerance, and need for us to stretch our minds and challenge some of the perceptions and mindsets about Arabs and Muslims it is now. We rely on you to do that. Travelers are also some of the best story tellers. So, I hope that all of you will go back to your countries and share stories about Jordan, about the fact that it is very much a safe, warm, and welcoming place. It is more than just a destination, it is really a place to experience and I think it’s an experience that one shouldn’t miss.

So, again, thank you so much for being here. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you and I hope you continue to enjoy your stay here in Jordan. Thank you.


By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com