With an existence of around 20 years, scuba diving represents a mature industry in Jordan, and Aqaba shows great potential for becoming a global prime diving destination due to having over 50 potential dive sites with high-visibility, shore-access and a great variety of species.
Recent years have shown that international tourists are the most frequent visitors of Aqaba’s diving centers and sites. Almost all marketing efforts are focused on attracting international tourists which means that locals and expatriates are either unaware or uninterested in the diving experience that Aqaba has to offer. Another major problem faced by Aqaba’s diving industry is the major slump in sales and lack of exposure.
After carefully studying and assessing the situation, USAID LENS concluded that Aqaba’s diving industry’s struggle is mainly represented in the following:
Political unrest in neighboring countries, which caused demand for diving in Aqaba to fall significantly after 2011.
- Lack of marketing capacities and management skills within the Aqaba Diving Association (ADA).
- The difficulty and high cost of transportation to Aqaba’s diving sites.
- Environmental threats to coral reefs.
USAID LENS Work
In 2015, USAID LENS performed a full analysis of Aqaba’s diving industry and set forth a comprehensive plan to develop the industry as a whole, increase sales and to make diving in Aqaba as appealing to locals as possible.
To help the industry overcome the slump in sales and lack of demand caused by regional unrest, USAID LENS is supporting the Aqaba Diving Association (ADA) in increasing local demand for diving in Jordan by attracting local customers as well as expatriates, and increasing the number of people certified in diving so that they become repeat customers.
USAID LENS is also focusing on restructuring the ADA’s marketing and management capacities, and holds training programs for its members. The project is also currently exploring different ways of addressing the transportation challenge from Amman to Aqaba’s dive centers.
Finally, to help limit some of the current environmental dangers that Aqaba is facing, the project will support the ADA in organizing regular clean-up dive campaigns, find rehabilitation mechanisms for the old coral reef as an attempt to restore it, and come up with means by which USAID can support the Aqaba Reef Conservation Project (ARCP).
Held a 2-day marketing training at the Aqaba Diving Association (ADA) on November 29 - 30 2015 for 25 employees representing 9 diving companies in Aqaba. The training addressed market segmentation, in order to target more local customers, and online marketing which included the use of social media for business purposes in order to increase visibility of diving companies in the local market.
Supported the ADA in organizing a major Dive Show in Amman, Jordan in April 2016 to attract more local customers and promote Aqaba as a premium dive location. The 3-day event aimed to attract over 1,000 visitors and had numerous sections that aimed to raise awareness about scuba diving in Jordan and promote Aqaba as a remarkable tourist destination.
Given Aqaba’s potential for becoming a global prime diving destination, USAID LENS awarded a grant to the ADA to continue developing this thriving sector. The grant allowed for the restructuring of the association and the development of a stronger foundation for growth. This included hiring a manager for the ADA to oversee its activities, provide administrative support and facilitate communication between all members.
As part of the ADA grant and USAID LENS efforts to promote the diving industry in Jordan, the Project started producing a dive video in 2018 that aims to highlight the advantages of diving in Aqaba, and showcase its exceptional marine life. The video will also highlight nontraditional touristic activities in addition to the classic offerings of Aqaba. These include cultural and experiential tourism activities which will include interaction with the local community. In order to make this possible, the Aqaba Diving Association (ADA) is working closely with a production company to produce the video, compiling dive clips from Aqaba, and using existing videos in order to highlight the very best of diving in Jordan. It is expected to add destinations in Jordan in order to further highlight the broader potential of diving as part of a ‘Jordanian tourism package’.
Take a look at our adventure tourism brochure