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Aqaba hotel occupancy rates fall short of expectations — employees

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jun 13,2020 - Last updated at Jun 13,2020

According to employees at various Aqaba hotels, occupancy rates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday ranged between 20 per cent and 50 per cent (Photo courtesy of ASEZA website)

AMMAN — Though occupancy rates in Aqaba hotels were expected to reach 100 per cent over the weekend, stakeholders in the hospitality sector say that bookings in many hotels have not exceeded 50 per cent. 

Speaking to Al Mamlaka TV last Wednesday, President of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZA) Nayef Bakhit said that the launch of the Tourism Ministry’s Urdun Jannah programme, which encourages domestic tourism, has benefitted tourism activities in Aqaba, including hotels and restaurants. 

He noted that he had expected the hotels in the port city, located some 330 kilometres south of the capital, to be full during the weekend.

However, when contacted by The Jordan Times, employees in various hotels said that the occupancy rates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday ranged between 20 to 50 per cent. 

"Our occupancy rates did not exceed 30 per cent over the weekend, and what’s more, there are no people even inquiring about prices or visiting," Ali Bassah, head of reception at hotel in Aqaba, told The Jordan Times on Saturday over the phone. 

Bassah said that, although the hotel he works at is situated in a popular area near three- and four-star hotels and restaurants that used to witness market competition, this year “there is no competition at all”. 

An employee at another Aqaba hotel told The Jordan Times: "The occupancy rate at our hotel on Thursday was 25 per cent and Friday was 20 per cent. The situation is not good. The people that are seen bustling in the governorate are its own residents and only a very few from other governorates."

On social media, tourism agents have been posting sponsored ads on special offers for domestic flights to Aqaba as well as offers to visit farms in various governorates, encouraging domestic tourism. 

However, comments on the offers focus on the economic hardships people have faced during the lockdown and how difficult it is for them to spend money on anything beyond necessities. 


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