High tourist arrivals herald a promising year for sector

The first two months of 2023 witnessed unprecedented tourist footfall, according to sector representatives, who expressed hope that the total number of visitors to Jordan would exceed six million this year.

Around 940,000 tourists visited Jordan during January and February — a 135.5 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2022, according to a statement by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities made available to The Jordan Times.

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“The total number of tourists — both domestic and international — who visited the northern governorates of Jordan during the past weekend is estimated to be around 18,000,” Tourism Ministry Spokesperson Ahmad Refai told The Jordan Times. 

Refai highlighted that this number is a “record high” for the local tourism sector, adding that the majority of tourists visited Jerash, Ajloun and Umm Qais. 

The numbers recorded so far this year have exceeded those in 2019, which was then considered “a golden year” for the tourism sector, according to Refai.

During the first two months of 2019, a total of 742,920 tourists visited Jordan, followed by 842,647 in the same period of 2020.  Tourism declined drastically in 2022, reducing the footfall to 399,094, according to statistics from the Tourism Ministry. 

The ministry’s monthly report showed a 119.5 per cent increase in the numbers of overnight tourists in the January-February period of 2023, amounting to 765,352 tourists, compared with 348,692 tourists in the first two months of 2022. 

The current numbers tell of a prosperous year for our local tourism sector,” Refai added. 

Refai noted that the Golden Triangle — Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba — is currently witnessing a remarkable arrival of tourists. 

Mohammad Al Qasem, Jordan Hotel Association’s spokesperson, told The Jordan Times that the association is expecting the number of tourists in 2023 to exceed six million. 

“The occupancy rate in Dead Sea hotels reached 85 per cent this past weekend, while Aqaba’s hotels reached 70 per cent occupancy,” Qasem added. 

Qasem stated that, in January and February, Madaba saw a 300 per cent increase in tourist footfall. “Over 86,000 tourists visited Madaba during the first two months of 2023,” said Qasem. 

“The tourism sector is proving to be one of the most promising sectors in Jordan,” Qasem added. 

Qasem attributed the increase in tourist footfall to the international promotional campaigns launched by the Jordan Tourism Board, in addition to on-the-ground public-private partnerships as well as the operation of low-cost carriers that are currently servicing Jordan. 

“Our aim is to turn tourism in Jordan from a seasonal to a year-round activity,” said Qasem.

“In 2022, the tourism sector proved to be one of the most important sectors for our local GDP, providing a total of JD 4.1 billion,” Qasem stated. 

Qasem added that the government is urged to accelerate the growth of the tourism sector by incentivising investment, a process that begins with simplifying procedures, reducing operational costs and, most importantly, encouraging youth to enrol in vocational training programmes designed to equip the sector with a highly skilled workforce. 


Source: the Jordan Times.


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