Ongoing internationalization processes have resulted in significant changes on the supply side in many fields of the economy and specifically in tourism. Although the scientific discourse is working hard to keep pace with these rapid changes, there is nevertheless a considerable deficit in research on the problems and risks as well as the potential and opportunities associated with intensifying processes of internationalization. This paper focuses on the internationalization process of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) in the Middle East, specifically in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which continues to be a tourist destination for Westerners in spite of major political and other crises. Internationalization of SMTEs is a complex process, and studies that take a more holistic view of this phenomenon are needed. This paper will therefore attempt to investigate the internationalization process in Jordan from a problem-centred perspective and to critically examine and discuss it on the basis of comments made by leading actors in the Jordanian tourism business. The thus gained insights should help to reduce the still existing theoretical deficits in the study of the internationalization process. Particularly, the impact of the Arab Spring on the Jordanian tourism market must be included in a critical assessment. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.