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Jordan’s treasure

Jul 03,2019 - Last updated at Jul 03,2019

Jordan has always thought that the ancient rose-red city of Petra as a "gold mine" when it comes to attracting tourists from the four corners of the Earth. Yet the latest numbers of tourists visiting the Nabataean city surprised even our wildest expectations.

According to officials, half-a-million tourists visited the city during the first half of this year, among them there were 473,813 foreigners!

Now we know that Petra is a big attraction to tourists and visitors to the country. This means that more investment must be made to make Petra an even more attractive touristic site, by improving its surrounding infrastructure.

Promoting overnight visitors by having appropriate hostels, motels or hotels could be a major step in the direction of making Petra not just an experience of a few hours. Offering night spectacles for overnight visitors could also be an added attraction that encourages tourists to spend more hours at the site. Yet above all, maintaining the traditional warm Jordanian hospitality, facilitating walking through the city or riding in specially-designed carriages or even riding horses or camels must be encouraged and facilitated.

Entry and other charges must remain affordable and not prohibitive. Clean restrooms at various places in Petra must also be provided for no charge. Nothing drives away tourists more than the lack of clean public toilets and resting places.

Restaurants offering traditional Jordanian and non-Jordanian cuisines must be made affordable and of excellent quality. Direct supervisions of smoke-free restaurants, cafes and other public places should be introduced on a more frequent basis.

Linking Petra with Wadi Rum by regular bus lines is always an added value. It is nearly impossible to separate Petra from Wadi Rum, as the two attractions are close and complement one another in more than one way. Offering a package deal to tourists that combines a visit to Petra with a visit to Wadi Rum could be a good way to market the two sites together.

Since Petra is turning out to be Jordan's gold mine, the government and people must treat it as such and never stop short of making it even so much more.

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