German executives get taste of Jordan's travel incentives
It was a pleasurable, hectic, didactic, awe-inspiring trip through the wilderness of Jordan; though wilderness is hardly the right word to choose. It was an organized five day (4-8 May, 2011) incentives trip for a relatively large group of German executives coming to experience the wonders of the country.
It was packed, staying in top notch hotels and eating good food and drinks in between sight-seeing tours of Amman, Mount Neb, Madaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba and the Dead Sea. The aim was for the customers and clients of Spicers, the German packaging firm, to enjoy the best of Jordan and some of its finest sites at a leisurely but at the same time touristically passionate pace.
Tina Visile and Noura Aboudi of the Petra Events Management in Amman organized the incentive trip, from checking the guests in the Four Seasons in Amman right till the final day when they made final checking from the Marriott Hotel in the Dead Sea and via Queen Alia International Airport back to their homes in Germany.
The point of such incentive trips is to offer exclusivity, quality and comfort with plenty of privacy, private check-ins, cocktail receptions and private dinners. On this German trip none of these elements were left out with the touristic activities starting full throttle the next day.
The guests were taken on an Amman City Tour to the old part of the city and saw such famous places as the Citadel and the Roman Amphitheater, displaying the past glory of Amman as the cradle of civilizations.
Through two top Luxury coaches, the German guests, which were 46 in total, were then driven slightly to the south-west of Amman to Mount Nebo to live the history of the story of Prophet Mosses and the Holy Land. On board, Noura Abboudi tells me, was a German tour leader and two German-speaking tour guides although the guests could speak perfect English.
She and Tina Visilie were on a separate car, slightly ahead of the coaches. “This was made intentionally as we had to get to the next destination well ahead of time to make sure that everything is going to plan,” says Visile who has much experience in organizing such incentive trips.
“We left early after Mount Nebo and went to Harat Jdoudnah in Madaba, were the party were coming to have lunch, and made sure the menus which were in German, were distributed on tables on time, as we received then directly from Germany,” Aboudi continues.
After lunch, the guests were taken to St. George’s Church that houses a 6th century Byzantine mosaic map and then on the Desert Highway to Petra’s Movenpick stopping on the way at Sultana’s for light refreshments. After a separate check-in and a cocktail reception the guests were taken to Little Petra, 20 minutes away from where they were staying and hurriedly enjoyed a “Light and Sound” show and a piano player, before it started to pour down.
The guests had to creep downwards occasionally hiding inside some of the many caves. “But there was a sense of romance to the whole idea, because as the guests made it to the site, which was table-furnished beforehand they were given the red carpet treatment with lit candles 100-yards before the site with a flute-player on top of one of the rocks, giving the whole atmosphere a perfect glow,” Aboudi adds.
The light, at time red-tinted, zoomed at different rocks projecting images which foretold of medieval times and scraggy huge rocks down-beaten by the weather and terrain.
Back at the hotel, a private dinner had been prepared, and then straight to bed, well not really because there was much merriment, laughter, enjoyment as can be expected on these group outings.
The next day it was bright and early to Petra proper, the site seeing starting with that long gorge called the Siq, the tall oblong-shaped walls, the Treasury, caves, theaters, the hundreds and hundreds of tombs. It was a delight to walk in a historical, archaeological, pink city that a millennia ago was inhabited by the Nabateans.
Before the group made their way to Wadi Rum, they had a palatial lunch at the Basin restaurant with the beautiful rose red formations of Petra in the background. Having left quickly through the Petra back door and not through the Visitor’s Centers, because of the VIP nature of the trip, the group made its way to Wadi Rum, or the Valley of the Moon where 13 jeeps were waiting to take them and set sail into the desert.
It was a three-hour drive of a terrain of Mars-like mountains and nomenclature until they were finally made their way to the Umm Rashid Camp, being greeted with a sand-road of lighted candles, Bedouins, and camels.
It was the full works. With a five-star buffet dinner, on show was the traditional dabkaa (folklore dancers), a folklore singer, a belly dancer, a bread lady—bread through the taboon oven) and a henna lady, to beatify the women on the trip if they so wished. It was one more night of merriment.
Later that night, the coaches quickly started up and made their way to Aqaba, drenching into their beds at the Movenpick. Rooms had been allocated prior hand, and the guests just clicked on the doors. It was past midnight.
“It was a bit hectic on the trip, but there was lots of food, drinks and places to see to make up for this,” points out Aboudi says. “Accompanying the group was Spicers chairman and he simply said ‘he had high expectations of the trip and we exceeded them’”, she adds.
Up and early the next day, breakfast, short detour and back up north to the Dead Sea to the picturesque area of Wadi Araba, where the Jordan-Israeli Treaty was signed in 1994. It’s a beautiful long stretch of mountainous terrain, stopping at the very nice Bir Mathkour rest-place for light refreshments, before the coaches enveloped the Dead Sea’s Marriott property.
It was an afternoon of leisure with the German group first going for lunch at the El Teresso Italian restaurant that lies at the waterfront, where there is nothing but deep blue sea and looking across to mountainous terrain, where I am told on a clear day, you can just about see the hills of Jerusalem.
It was a lazy afternoon for the visitors lounging about and for some taking a dip in the salty Sea. In the evening it was a private dinner at the Hotel’s Beach Club with a DJ and another belly dancer. It was the last night on a Jordan trip, a night to remember for next day, they would be taken early to the airport and back to Germany.
The ladies went back to their offices at Petra Events after sleeping for two days!