Majority of Aqaba residents believe investments limit beach access — poll
by Kaid Takhaineh |
AMMAN — Seventy-three per cent of Aqaba residents believe that access to the port city’s beaches is now harder than a decade ago when investments at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone started.
In a poll conducted by the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS), only 27 per cent of the respondents said access to the beaches is better now than 10 years ago.
The polling sample included 142 people from all walks of life, such as divers, taxi drivers, university students, fishermen and shop owners.
The study showed that divers and owners of diving centres were the most pessimistic, believing that investments have negatively affected the public beaches.
Around 51 per cent of the respondents managed to identify the exact size of the beaches currently available; four kilometres out of the 27 kilometres that is the total length of the Aqaba beach.
The study also showed that 35 per cent of respondents believe that the port city’s inhabitants benefit directly from the beaches.
However, their points of view varied on the economic value of the investments and their ability to create job opportunities in order to eliminate unemployment as well as their overall impact on the national economy, including that of Aqaba.
The study recommended enacting legislation to forbid the sale of beaches, protect the remaining beach areas and allocate pieces of land away from the shore for investment purposes
Ebtihal Tarawneh, coordinator of JREDS’ “Our beaches are not for sale” initiative, underlined the need to designate the remaining beach area for the public and enable them to use them at no charge.