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Aqaba expects rise in tourists as more cruise ships drop anchor

By Maram Kayed - Nov 07,2019 - Last updated at Nov 08,2019

By the end of 2019, more than 71 tourism vessels and cruise ships are expected to have docked in Aqaba, according to the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — By the end of 2019, more than 71 tourism vessels and cruise ships are expected to have docked in Aqaba, exceeding the expectations of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA).

In March of 2019, former spokesperson for ASEZA, Abdul Mahdi Qatameen, told The Jordan Times that “52 cruise ships and tourism vessels are expected to visit Aqaba this year, with an estimated 96,000 tourists on board”.

However, President of ASEZA Sharhabeel Madi told The Jordan Times in a recent phone interview that “so far, 60 cruise ships have arrived. Three vessels touched down last Thursday alone, carrying 2,244 tourists of different nationalities”.

Figures provided by the director of the tourism department at ASEZA, Ruba Qsous, show that that the number of ships will increase by 11 ships from last year.

“Since the beginning of the year, we could tell that our collaboration with social media influencers both outside and inside Jordan to promote Aqaba is generating positive results,” she added.

Madi noted that the authority’s plan to promote “The Golden Triangle”, composed of Aqaba, Wadi Rum, and Petra, has “succeeded in attracting not only small cruise ships, but dozens of giant vessels”.

“This time of the year is the busiest season for Aqaba, and a large number of giant cruise ships and vessels are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, carrying tourists from various European countries and the United States,” he added.

According to the authority, an estimated 100,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Aqaba during the 2020 tourism season.

“We are hoping, however, to be as pleasantly surprised as this year, and see the actual numbers exceeding our expectations,” Madi concluded.

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