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A bleak holiday season for Petra, Dead Sea hotels — hoteliers

By Khetam Malkawi - Dec 30,2014 - Last updated at Dec 30,2014

AMMAN — The holiday season will not salvage this year for hotels in Petra as in previous years, when the number of visitors used to increase, according to sector representatives.

Fawwaz Hasanat, head of the Petra Hotels Association (PHA), said the situation is “at its worst”, with four hotels having closed their doors due to losses.

The drop in the number of visitors to the rose-red city impacted hotel occupancy this year, according to Hasanat, who noted that both small lodges and five-star hotels have been hit hard.

“Even the holiday season will not save them,” he told The Jordan Times on Tuesday, adding that the occupancy rate is only 20 per cent this season.

According to PHA figures, there are 39 hotels with different classifications in Petra.

The number of visitors to the ancient city dropped by 15 per cent in November, compared with the same month last year.

Revenues from entry tickets dropped by 9 per cent, from JD943,633 to JD859,113 in the same comparison period.

In addition, the first 11 months of this year witnessed a 9 per cent drop in the number of visitors to the Nabataean city compared to the same period in 2013, according to official figures.

The difficult situation that Petra hotels are undergoing this year is also an issue of concern to the Jordan Hotel Association (JHA), which is looking for means to attract more tourists to the site, some 235km south of Amman.

Describing the situation as “disastrous”, JHA General Manager Yassar Al Majali said the tourism sector is still being impacted by regional turmoil, and tourist sites are the most affected. This has had a negative impact on the industry, leaving hotels with low occupancy rates.

Dead Sea hotels, which usually attract Jordanians who spend the winter holidays there, have also been affected, with a 20 per cent occupancy rate expected on New Year’s Eve, according to Majali.

Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Director General Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times that JTB will soon release a new three-year plan that aims to promote the country’s tourism sector, and attract more visitors to historical and archaeological sites.

He added that as part of the plan, marketing research will be enhanced and promotional campaigns will target potential tourists.

In addition, the JTB will hold international events, inviting celebrities to Jordan to promote the Kingdom as a safe tourist destination.

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