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‘Aqaba seeks to attract European tourists’

Charter flights from Budapest bringing visitors for week-long vacations

By Dana Al Emam - Oct 04,2016 - Last updated at Oct 04,2016

A photo of a resort at Tala Bay in Aqaba, 330km south of Amman (Photo courtesy of Tala Bay Facebook page)


AMMAN — Aqaba authorities are working to attract tourists from Europe to the coastal city, with new charter flights arriving from promising markets on the continent, an official said on Tuesday.  

Charter flights have recently started arriving to Aqaba, 330km south of Amman, from Budapest, bringing tourists for week-long vacations, said Nasser Shraideh, the chief commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). 

“There are good indicators of the turnover of visitors from these promising markets,” Shraideh told The Jordan Times in a phone interview.

The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) on Monday signed an agreement with the Hungarian charter flights agency Anubis Travel to start a weekly direct flight from Budapest to Aqaba, according to a JTB statement. 

The first Hungarian charter flight arrived at King Hussein International Airport (KHIA) in Aqaba on September 24, bringing 102 Hungarian tourists, and it was followed on Sunday by another carrier with 113 passengers.

These weekly flights will continue until mid-January next year, and will resume from mid-March until November 2017.

The JTB plans to encourage tourism through charter flights from other European countries to Aqaba, with the condition that visitors spend at least seven nights, including a stay in Petra, 235km south of Amman.  

“We are working to bring more tourists to Aqaba from other European countries through charter flights over the coming few months,” Shraideh said, noting an increase in the number of German visitors. 

Tourism promotion plans include visits to Wadi Rum and Petra, said the ASEZA chief, who added that the majority of Aqaba hotels offer entertainment programmes for guests. 

The Cabinet on Monday decided to exempt airline tickets for passengers leaving the Kingdom from KHIA from the $60 departure tax, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. The decision applies to all airlines.

The Cabinet had previously exempted tickets of low-cost and charter flights from this tax.

Petra said the decision is aimed at increasing flight movement into the port city of Aqaba, and, in turn, the number of tourists.

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