Meet Carmen Scholten, In2Jordan’s Co-founder and General Manager. Or as the locals in Aqaba know her, the blonde with the bull.
At In2Jordan, Carmen Scholten is known as the boss. But in the small southern town of Aqaba where she lives with her husband, son and her British Bulldog, Carmen is simply known as ‘the blonde with the bull.’
It’s a rather unassuming profile for the woman who drove from Amsterdam to Jordan in a 500 Euro car just to complete a university assignment. This also being the woman who then identified a need for high quality tours in Jordan and launched In2Jordan as the ideal solution two years later.
But that’s the way Carmen likes it. “Always over deliver,” she says.
“Running your own business is fun, especially when you love and believe in what you do.”
From her home office – which also doubles as the reception area of her husband’s PADI dive center – Carmen juggles client service, team leadership, and business development with a smile.
“Running your own business is fun, especially when you love and believe in what you do,” says Carmen. “No two days are the same and I enjoy the diversity that comes with managing financial budgets, motivating the team, developing strategic planning, and translating these elements into practical outcomes for my team and clients.”
According to Carmen, her passion to offer clients high-quality customized experiences in Jordan stems from her own unforgettable first impressions. “I was meant to visit Jordan for a few days but I fell in love with the country. Within six months of graduating university I’d moved here,” she says.
“I studied cross cultural management and sustainable entrepreneurship at university. Pairing that with a passion for travel, a career in the tourism industry was the perfect fit.”
“I believe there is a place for responsible tourism in every destination across the world.”
Since the official launch of In2Jordan in January 2013, Carmen’s team has grown to include five local guides and drivers, and six travel consultants. Each with specialist knowledge in cultural sites, horse tours and yoga and meditation retreats. A partnership with Amani Tours in Amman and travel agents across the Middle East also offers clients a wide range of customized packages and experiences.
“One of my greatest achievements is knowing that I’ve surrounded myself with a team of dedicated and loyal experts at In2Jordan,” says Carmen.
“I’m also proud of how we have tapped into the expertise of local guides and drivers. Not only does their grassroots knowledge add value for our clients; the money they earn directly supports small entrepreneurs and local communities. I believe there is a place for this kind of responsible tourism in every destination across the world.”
It is this kind of thinking that earned Carmen and her off-sider, Gail Reid the title of 2017’s Best New Destination Expert Worldwide on Trip.me.
“I could roam the ancient architectures of As Salt and lush areas of Ajloun all day.”
Carmen also has the gift of the gab with her international clients thanks to her expertise as a destination expert in Jordan, and her ability to speak four languages. “I speak Dutch, English, German and Arabic,” says Carmen. She laughs before adding, “so I guess so does my dog, Hendrix.”
So how does the woman who organizes tours travel herself? “I love walking the numerous beautiful routes in Petra, and climbing the hills of Wadi Araba to enjoy the stillness of the desert,” she says. “Next to that, I could roam the ancient architectures of As Salt and lush areas of Ajloun all day.”
Is there anything the blonde with the bull can’t do? “Well, I’m trying to grow veggies in the desert. We’ll see how that goes,” she concludes.
For more information on In2Jordan’s itineraries, excursions and retreats, visit https://in2jordan.com/tours/