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War on Gaza sparks massive cancellations in Jordan’s car rental sector

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Dec 03,2023 - Last updated at Dec 03,2023

The ongoing war on Gaza has lead to mass cancellations of car rental bookings in Jordan, sparked by fears of spillover, according to the Jordanian Car Rental Association (Photo courtesy of Akram Badran)

 

AMMAN — The ongoing war on Gaza has lead to mass cancellations of car rental bookings in Jordan, sparked by fears of spillover, according to the Jordanian Car Rental Association. 

Its spokesperson, Akram Badran, told The Jordan Times that over 90 per cent of bookings for October, November, December and January were cancelled. 

Visitors usually book car rentals in advance before coming to Jordan, according to Badran, who noted that there are currently “almost” no bookings for December and January. 

The mass cancellations in the sector began in October, approximately ten days into the war on Gaza, he added 

Badran also noted that many tourists, who were already in Jordan cut their trips short, and cancelled the remaining period of their booking to go back to their countries for fear that the war, would expand to Jordan. 

The prime seasons for the car rental business in Jordan include the period from June to September, during which expatriates in Gulf countries come back to spend the summer in Jordan, said Badran. 

The other peak period is the winter season from October to January, during which Jordan receives visitors mostly from European countries, he added. 

Badran stressed that it’s necessary to take measures to postpone loan payments due from car rental businesses to banks and other financing institutions to help the sector manage its losses. 

The car rental businesses in Jordan have not yet recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic which took a toll on the tourism sector in Jordan, he said. 

“All car rental companies, no matter their size, are struggling... the overall losses in the sector most likely exceeded 80 per cent,” added Badran. 

He pointed out that many companies are contemplating laying off some of their employees or reducing their salaries if the situation remains the same in December. 

There are companies, which have already made the decision to sell their cars and permanently close if they weren’t able to manage their losses by the end of the year, Badran said. 

He also noted that many car rental businesses had to rent empty spaces to park their cars, as the garage capacity for most companies cannot accommodate all cars at the same time. “These costs combined with taxes, licensing and insurance fees add to our losses.” 

There are currently around 235 care rental companies distributed across the Kingdom, according to Badran.

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