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Baptism Site sees rise in footfall as joint efforts pay off — commission

By Maria Weldali - Mar 05,2022 - Last updated at Mar 05,2022

A view of the Baptism Site on the eastern side of the Jordan River, some 40km west of Amman (Photo courtesy of the Baptism Site Commission)

AMMAN — The Baptism Site of Jesus Christ in Jordan, also known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan, has seen a growing number of visitors since the beginning of 2022.

“The number of visitors to the Baptism Site has increased by around 15 per cent in February when compared with January,” Director General of the Baptism Site Commission Rustom Mkhjian told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

Mkhjian added that joint efforts among key stakeholders and partners including the Baptism Site Commission, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Jordan Tourism Board, the private sector and the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA), have significantly improved the overall situation and have supported the sustainable recovery of the tourism industry in the Kingdom.

Affirming the importance of unified efforts, Mkhjian noted that the partnership among the aforementioned parties has led to the arrival of new tourists from France, India, Nigeria, Romania and Spain, and the growth in the numbers of tourists coming from the Americas who represent almost 25 per cent of the total number of visitors.

“What makes us optimistic is that the Jordan Pass bookings have more than doubled during the last couple of months, which is a good indicator,” Mkhjian said.

The government’s recent relaxation of COVID-19 measures, cancelling the PCR test requirement upon arrival at airports and other entry points for Jordanians and non-Jordanians, has had significant impact on the growth in tourist arrivals.

According to Mkhjian, nearly 4,700 tourists visited the Baptism Site in January, while 5,500 individuals visited the site in February this year.

The Baptism Site has two important locations: Elijah’s Hill where three biblical events took place, and the area of the churches of Saint John the Baptist near the river.

“Things are kind of getting back to normal,” according to Mkhjian who said that during the first five days of March, around 1,500 tourists visited the Baptism Site.

 

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