Research Article

Tourism Roots and Destination Marketing Bridging Civilizations, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Theories

A.H. Hussein Alhroot and Basheer A.M. Al-Alak
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This study aims at showing that tourism theory is of vital importance globally and provides understanding that eternal love and peace through faith are deeply etched into the earth and memories of Jordan. The proposed model of destination marketing was developed in the context of Jordan tourism that can be applied to global destinations and contribute to knowledge of mankind and tourism in Jordan as well as the tourism and cultural theories. In the context of tourism, destination marketing bridges old civilizations and tourism theory by synthesizing a means of academic literature to destination marketing. Civilizations always provide common understanding in a peaceful way among mankind races. This commenced side by side with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra (the Dead Sea Region is now today) occurred (1897BC) for their depravity in Jordan, the very name of the country that maintains the unique baptismal aura of a holy river and a blessed land.

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A.H. Hussein Alhroot and Basheer A.M. Al-Alak, 2009. Tourism Roots and Destination Marketing Bridging Civilizations, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Theories. Asian Journal of Marketing, 3: 108-116.

DOI: 10.3923/ajm.2009.108.116



As a traditional crossroads of ancient trade routes, most of the great historical civilizations have left their marks, from the Moabites to the Romans and Crusaders. Attractions include the unparalleled Nabatean city of Petra (discovered in 1812 by J. Burchhardt), which is currently listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site List, due to its outstanding universal value and Qasr Amra (also a World Heritage Site), the Greco-Roman city of Jerash, one of the best preserved ancient cities, the mosaic map of Madaba, Islamic and Crusader castles, sites of the Lawrence of Arabia legend, remnants of the Hijaz railway and the Roman- Arabesque fortress at Azraq (JTB, 2002; MTA, 2005, 2007, 2009; Alhroot, 2007). Jordan has unique geographical, geological and environmental assets and attractive sites. The charming scenery of Wadi-Rum, the Madaba mosaics crafting during the Byzantine era, the therapeutic benefits of the Dead Sea and the coral reefs of Aqaba are real examples of the diverse experiences awaiting tourists. It is estimated that there are over 20,000 archaeological sites throughout the Kingdom, 65% of which are still undiscovered (MTA, 2006, 2008, 2009; Alhroot, 2007, 2008).

According to World Tourism Organization (2003), cultural tourism is related to visiting sites such as archaeological, religious, vernacular, archaeological and historical museums, commemoration, heritage and traditional and old houses. Jordan is considered to be one of the richest countries in these kinds of cultural tourism that bridged old civilizations and cultural heritage theory (Nasser, 2000; MTA, 2002; JTB, 2002; Hazbun, 2004; Taji, 2005). The Royal Jordanian Airline remained the main organization up to 1988 in that it was primarily responsible for the promotion of tourism through its flying to more than 47 destinations spreading over continents. The next important development was the foundation of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in 1988 with the major aim of promoting tourism through conservation development and management of archaeological sites throughout Jordan for the purpose of visitation and knowing Jordan’s location on the global tourism map (MTA, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009; JTB, 2002, 2005; Hazbun, 2004; Taji, 2005; Alhroot, 2007, 2008).

However, the importance of over 4000 years of the Arab Canaanites culture and civilization is realized in Jordanian heritage (MTA, 2007, 2009; Alhroot, 2008). Also, the Nabatean presence for over 3000 years is seen in Petra province (Vine, 1987; MTA, 1995, 2000; Nasser, 2000; JTB, 2002, 2005; Hazbun, 2004; Taji, 2005; Alhroot, 2008). The Greco-Roman City of Jerash was listed as one of the famous cities in the Roman Empire and the Madaba mosaics crafted during the Byzantine era over 2000 years age is seen in Madaba province. Therefore, these Jordanian sites bridge ancient civilizations, tourism and cultural heritage theories (MTA, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2009; JTB, 2002, 2005; Hazbun, 2004; Taji, 2005; Alhroot, 2008). According to Page (2007), the rise of Rome, dated 146BC, is based upon the twin factors of administration and military take-over of overseas land that created a demand for business-related travel. Consequently, this event is dated as the third original epoch of Jordanian tourism history, whilst the Nabatean presence is seen in Petra province in Jordan. (Vine, 1987; Nasser, 2000; Page, 2003; Hazbun, 2004; Alhroot, 2008; Khaled, 2009). Petra emerged in three distinct epochs: local legend has it that the spring of (Valley of Moses) near Petra is often known as biblical Sela (a rock). However, these Jordanian tourism sites contributed to the civilization of mankind by accessing the mosaic finest art to buildings, to the tourism theory by a gazetteer and a practical road map of ancient places, people and events associated with this peaceful and spiritual land and provide common understanding among human races’ civilizations and cultures. Tourism destination in Jordan has a history dating back to the Islamic Era (750 AD-1516AD) until the Ottomans took over Jordan for four centuries (1516AD-1918AD) for the purpose of controlling the pilgrimage route of the Muslim Holy Site of Mecca (Alhroot, 2008; MTA, 2009). Grand tourists can be distinguished between 1550AD and 1800AD when grand tour routes were taken in Europe and the primacy of sure centers that used the railway in these centers joined with the development of the tourism theory as well as destination marketing areas (Towner, 1996; Page, 2003, 2007). According to MTA (2009), the manifestation of the grand tour in the early 1800s in Europe considered the real original age of tourism history as well as the end of the fourth epoch Jordanian tourism history, which was the Pre- Industrial Revolution (prior to 1840). Therefore, the historical development of the fifth original epoch tourism destination history in Jordan has been classified to include the Hijazi railway (1918) that runs from the North in Syria to Aqaba in the South remained of this era in Jordan. Royal Jordanian airlines (1965) to MTA (1988), which develop tourism through conservation, development and management of archaeological sites throughout Jordan for the goal of visitation (McIntosh and Goeldenr, 1990; MTA, 1995, 2004, 2006; Nasser, 2000; JTB, 2002, 2005; Hazbun, 2004; Taji, 2005). Thus, Jordan was under the protection of Emir Abdullah and the British rule, known as Transjordan. On 25 May 1946, King Abdullah I established the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, otherwise, known as Jordan and the British gave up its mandate on Transjordan. Prosperity and development occurred in Jordan during the reign of the late King Hussein I. Today, King Abdullah II rules the country (Nasser, 2000; Alhroot, 2008; MTA, 2008, 2009).

The success of any tourism destination lies in the ability of that destination or region to attract tourists, because it is tourists who possess the buying power that makes destinations or regions possible for the tourism business to be successful. It is also because of the money spent by the tourists that services such as accommodation, catering facilities, tourist attractions, transport and even entertainment facilities can remain viable. The destination concept stated the tourists’ needs and wants in the industrial field. Therefore, the importance of the destination concept was determined by tourists’ demands through the marketing services in terms of the concept of tourism as applied to tourists (Alhroot, 2008; MTA, 2008, 2009). There has been, in general, an increase in the applicability and principles of services destination marketing which has paralleled with the marketing services community (Davidson, 1993; MTA, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009; JTB, 2000, 2002, 2005; Alhroot, 2008).

World Tousism Organization (1999), in its Tourism: 2020 Vision, identifies key market segments that are growing in importance as: culture tourism, eco-tourism, thematic tourism, adventure tourism, cruise market and space tourism. The World Tousism Organization (1999), predicts a strong growth in cultural tourism particularly to European, the Middle East and Asia, from virtually all source regions. The need to reach for culture and knowledge is an important motive for tourists and travel increasingly manages to combine learning and leisure. Different cultures and ways of life are considered to be the key motivations for travellers to experience. The tourism activity is one of the main economic activities that are affected by any changes such as technical ones or those in the prevailing social standards. Media and advertising play a primary role in influencing this economic activity, positively or negatively. The result will be a major loss in the investments in this sector and the deprivation of this area from any investments or working chances (McIntosh and Goeldner, 2003). Tourism is no longer a services activity; it has become an industry with a solid basis and technical primary requirements. It has branches such as religious tourism and many tourism types connected to the religious sects, beliefs and cultures. The Arab World is the land of great monotheist religions and has many Holy lands, tombs, memorials and ancient ruins as old as man, which made this area a catching site for tourists and visitors from all over the world (Nasser, 2000; JTB, 2000, 2002, 2005; Hazbun, 2004; Taji, 2005; MTA, 2006, 2008, 2009; Alhroot, 2007, 2008).

Health tourism, in spite of its old origin, has become one of the main branches of this activity. Some countries, including Jordan, have proven its superiority in this field; in medicine, drug industry, doctors' high-qualifications and high technologies used in the medical centers. As for physical therapy, Jordan has many therapeutic centers that many tourists visit looking for cures from various diseases (World Tousism Organization, 1998; Nasser, 2000; JTB, 2002, 2005; Taji, 2005; MTA, 2006). According to World Tousism Organization (1998), nowadays there is a new branch of tourism, educational tourism, which links the continents of the world with each other, especially between Arab nations. Many Arab students travel to various countries due to political as well as economic reasons. Studying abroad has become very expensive, not to mention to the high and outstanding quality of education in the Arab universities. Jordan is unique in its educational superiority that it attracted thousands of students from different countries and the number of students is expected to reach 150,000 during the next five years (Nasser, 2000; JTB, 2005; Alhroot, 2008; MTA, 2008, 2009).


This study was conducted during the period from 15.4.2009 to 1.11.2009. Data collection would then be carried out with a modest amount of additional staff training to ensure a consistent province-wide surveying technique. The next step would be to work with regional destination marketing organizations to generate forms of industry attractions. After the survey was carried out and the data analyzed, results would be provided on a regional and province-wide basis. However, the National and International Travel Survey conducted by research firm and more general surveys of consumer attitudes were conducted by various market research organizations. In addition, opportunities existed to establish partnerships with several research organizations, notably those housed at local universities.

The importance of measuring satisfaction in tourism has been acknowledged (Ryan, 1995; Danaher and Arweiler, 1996) due to its relation to key marketing outcome variables such as repeat business (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993) and positive word-of-mouth (Richins, 1983; Gunderson et al., 1996; Sundaram et al., 1998) a satisfaction benchmark through an initial call-back study would evaluate trip satisfaction among toll-free callers who actually visited the destination area. Such a programmer could be conducted on an ongoing basis to monitor customer trip satisfaction over time and subsequently, be expanded to provide information on conversion trip motivators, season of visit, tourism expenditures and intention to visit again. Therefore, a new survey of tourism operators to assess their perceptions of Summer annual results was conducted. Measures were identified to insure that the findings of such a survey would provide a fair and accurate reflection of industry performance.

A research population refers to the whole group to which the research results apply. It literally means all the people and in a research context, population refers to all the members or objects of any defined group which might be taken or to about which information might be given. Population can be defined as the entire group under study as specified by the research objectives. The objective of this research was to investigate tourists perceptions regarding the identification for marketing Jordan regionally and internationally as a tourism destination (Alhroot, 2007). Therefore, the population in this study has two types: the tourists that visit Jordan and the stakeholders of Jordanian tourism.

Sample Size
To generalize from the sample of the population, the sample has to be representative of the population. The safest way to ensure that it is representative is to use a random selection procedure. The researchers can also use a stratified random sampling procedure, to make sure that they have proportional representation of population subgroups. When the sample is not representative of the population, selection bias is a possibility. A statistic is biased if the value of the statistic tends to be wrong (or more precisely, if the expected value-the average value from many samples drawn using the same sampling method is not the same as the population value). A typical source of bias in population studies is age or socioeconomic status, people with extreme values for these variables tend not to take part in the studies. Thus, a high compliance (the proportion of people contacted who end up as subjects) is important in avoiding bias. Journal editors are usually happy with compliance rates of at least 70%.

A total of 1120 questionnaires were sent out by postal and electronic mail to the representatives (tourists and stakeholders) to achieve the largest possible response. Seventy questionnaires were returned uncompleted. Thus, of the remaining 1050 questionnaires, 168 usable questionnaires were completed and returned, representing a 16% response rate overall where the sample size involved in this study is split: 56 stakeholders, 11.4% and 112 tourists, 20.6%.

Table 1:

Total responses of stakeholder from the mail survey

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Table 2:

Total responses of tourist from the mail survey

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The population size of stakeholder is shown in Table 1 with a total number of 520 questionnaires. The total of respondents in each of the different categories was more than 10.21% which correlates well with the overall response rate of 16%. The classification of stakeholders with a small segment like the restaurant, sales and marketing mangers had a high response rate that could be the result of the small size in these categories.

The population size of tourists is shown in Table 2 with a total number of 550 questionnaires distributing on international tourists that visiting Jordan. This is considered satisfactory, given the nature of the mail-out collection method and length of the questionnaire. Taking the big sample size for tourists into consideration, the response rate of 20.6% is acceptable. The response rate as per nationality of tourists for the questionnaire is shown in Table 2. The total of respondents in each of the different categories was more than 15% which correlates well with the overall response rate of 16%.

In a similar study that was done on a sample size of 1096, a response rate of 17% was considered satisfactory. Also, another similar study done on a sample size of 920 had a response rate of 15.4% which was considered satisfactory (Jonker, 2004).

The data had been collected and was processed by the research support team using the software package and SPSS programme. The tourist respondents and their educational level are shown in Table 3, while the stockholder respondents are shown in Table 4. Both Table 1and 2 of the questionnaire required respondents to complete general information about the respondents educational level and her/his position. It indicated the locality of the stakeholders as well as the percentage split between domestic and international tourists.

Table 3 shows that more than 60% (61.5%) of the tourist respondents who completed the questionnaire were highly educated. However, this percentage value is acceptable.

Table 3:

Educational level of tourists

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Table 4:

The amount of experience of the stakeholder respondents

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The Amount of Experience of the Stakeholder Respondents

Table 4 shows that 25% of stakeholder respondents had been in operation longer that 10 years, while 69.7% of the stakeholder respondents had been in operation for more than 6 years. More than two-thirds of the respondents, therefore, have 6 years and more experience in the tourism industry.

The results of the critical factors of destination marketing success were agreed and identified by the respondents within three perspectives namely: customer satisfaction, learning and growth and destination marketing components. Customer satisfaction was measured by both worldwide tourists and nationwide stakeholders, service quality and quality of experience led to optimize tourist satisfaction. The results of the future success factors of learning and growth have been identified and discussed in the following broad categories, namely: product of destination marketing development; accessibility system of development; people development. Three different destination marketing management components were identified: destination marketing management of pricing strategy; destination marketing management of promotion mix; physical evidence of destination marketing environmental management.

The respondents rated all the factors of service quality listed as critical. The tourist perspective represented service quality and quality of experience factors identified by the respondents. Most of the respondents felt that, in order to please the global tourists, the experience must be safe, comfortable and relaxing. The respondents further pointed out that, to satisfy the tourist, the quality of capability, accommodation, access to natural areas, tourist information, transportation, financial and communication institutes should be of a high standard.

The analysis of the results of the critical factors of destination marketing success showed that the most critical factors of product of destination marketing development were improving the tourism products, identifying and exploring new opportunities and upgrading of visitor services and facilities. All the accessibility development success factors were considered to be critical where Petra was listed by the respondents as the largest factor of Jordan’s tourism products that are the most critical factors of success in marketing and promoting Jordan regionally and globally as a preferred tourism destination area. For people development, the most critical factors were well trained and qualified people, culture of people and identified new opportunities.

The last section of this analysis shows how the critical factors of success can be integrated in a diagram, in which success factor integration is based on the correlation data between the different success factors sub-categories.

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Fig. 1:

Model of destination marketing success

The analysis shows that the accessibility system of development, people development, price and promotion of destination marketing show positive correlation with customer satisfaction, whilst the product of destination marketing management shows a positive correlation between the accessibility and price of stakeholders. Figure 1 shows those critical factors of destination marketing success that correlate with each other by utilizing success factors of integration diagram. However, nominal and ordinal of measurement were used as barometric tools in assessing tourist satisfaction with critical factors of quality, product, accessibility, people, price, promotion and physical evidence for tourists and stakeholders.


The findings indicate that, in order to please the global tourists, the experience must be safe, secure, comfortable and relaxing. Also, the quality of capability, accommodation, access to natural areas, tour guides, tourist information, transportation, financial and communication institutions were factors regarded as (contributors) to tourist satisfaction. It was also revealed that the most critical factors of product of destination marketing development were improving the tourism products, identifying and exploring new opportunities and upgrading visitor services and facilities.

The results of this study indicated the critical factors of destination marketing success agreed and identified by the respondents within three perspectives namely: customer satisfaction, learning and growth and destination marketing components and offered common understanding of the links between the rule of old civilization and tourism and cultural heritage theories. The proposed destination marketing model was developed and tested in the Jordan context and proved to be operational.

Jordan has specific attractions that are considered unique and can enable Jordan to differentiate itself from the global tourism markets
Jordan's millennium vision for its region and its contribution to the world economy puts education and training at the forefront of national and regional tourism development in the sustainable economic and social development of its region
There is strong correlation between the strategic objectives contained in the Jordanian Governments strategy and WTTCs millennium vision: the strategic themes that stand out in this comparison are:
Invest in human resources development, especially education and training
Maintain economic and sustainable growth as a national priority
Develop successful branding and international marketing
Increase funding and infrastructure development.

The followings are some of the key trends that could direct the future shape and direction of tourism:

Intercontinental tourist arrivals are forecast to be 1 billion in 2010 and will reach close to 1.6 billion in 2020. These numbers represent an overall average annual growth rate of 4.1% from 1995 to 2020. Europe will remain the largest receiving region. Asia will pass the Americas as the seconded-largest region, while the respective share of Africa will increase by up to 4%
The top ten receiving countries will see a major increase, with China becoming the leading destination by 2020. Also, entering the top ten will be the Russian Federation, while the fast-growing rate will be in Thailand and Singapore, as well as the Middle East region (World Tousism Organization, 1999)
The main expansion of international tourism over the last 25 years period is the rise in the long-haul share of arrivals, with tourists traveling greater distances. By 2020 the world interregional long-haul split will be 76:24, with average annual growth rates between 1995 and 2020 of 3.8 and 5.4%, respectively
Tourism: the 2020 vision study forecasts an above-average rate of growth in international tourist arrivals from the Asian continent with an average annual rise from 1999 to 2020 of 5.4%. Asia as predicted to hold 26% of the market share in 2020 as the second-largest receiving region. Thus, China will become the leading destination by 2020 as one of the Asian countries. If China treats Hong-Kong as a separate entity, it will also become one of the main destinations

Suggestions for Future Studies
This study contributes to the tourism and cultural theories through testing a destination marketing success model in Fig. 1 that can be applied to global destinations as well as the tourism and cultural heritage theories. However, future studies should concentrate on the followings:

Testing the destination marketing developed in this study in other challenging nationwide destinations
Expanding on the contribution of critical factors of the destination marketing success approach of this study to generate both practical and academic value

There is an opportunity for future research to identify and investigate the impact of other variables (e.g., culture, management style). Also, such research could consider the interaction between these contingent variables and other dimensions of tourism management system, which differentiate between international tourists and national stakeholders. Moreover, future research could expand this study by examining as wider set of critical success factors system attributes that have not been included in this study and applying qualitative approach that can use interviews and focus group in depth.


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