At the TNT Travel Show at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, Symes walked a rapt crowd through the highlights of one of the egion’s most stable, tourist-friendly countries.

“If you’re booking a tour that doesn’t go to Wadi Rum, the part of the desert made famous by Lawrence of Arabia, I advise you look elsewhere,” Symes said.

“You absolutely need to spend a night camped out at Wadi Rum. “Equally, if you don’t go to Amman, the capital city, you can’t say you’ve done Jordan. At night, the restaurants are full of young people, eating and drinking. There’s a lovely atmosphere.”

But the greatest drawcard of all is the ancient city of Petra, the pinkish desert citadel carved into the rocks thousands of years ago.

“In August, it will be the 200th anniversary of the rediscovery of Petra,” Symes said.

“So it will be a great year to go to Jordan, especially in that month.

“Throughout the city, there are coffee shops and restaurants where you can buy lunch, so it’s a full day. You want to get there as early as possible. The last time I was there, I went in at 5am and I realised how much of a difference it made, just to be able to wander around the city while it’s completely empty.

“The dawn and the sunrise in the desert are amazing. That’s when it’s the most romantic and the most spectacular.”

Sights aside, according to Symes, the joys of Jordan revolve around the people.

“These people will engage with you, if you want to engage with them. You’ll have a much better time in Jordan if you do. You’re a foreigner in their country, a guest. They’ll probably give you oranges and bread and olives for free, even if it’s the job of these people to sell it to you. They’ll just try to make you feel as welcome as possible.

“Everyone comes back from Jordan and says the people are friendly, but they’re more than that. They’re very sincere. It’s from the heart. They want to be involved with you.”