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Jordan’s tourism sees ‘good year’; expectations higher for 2019

Jerash witnesses considerable increase in visitors after 7 years of low turnout

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jan 03,2019 - Last updated at Jan 03,2019

Tourists are seen near ruins at the ancient Roman city of Jerash, 45km north of Amman, which received some 260,250 visitors in 2018 (Photo courtesy of Jordan Tourism Board)

AMMAN — The ancient city of Petra recorded in 2018 its second largest number of visitors since it was established as an official tourism destination, an official has said.

Meanwhile, Jerash, another major tourist attraction in Jordan, saw a considerable increase after seven years of low turnout.

Some 826,993 guests entered Petra, 220km south of Amman, during 2018 compared with 620,441 in 2017, recording a 33 per cent increase, according to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA).

During December alone, the number of visitors to the ancient city rose by 28 per cent, standing at 68,359, compared with 53,353 during the same month of 2017, according to PDTRA.

Non-Jordanian visitors to the site saw an increase by 42 per cent during the past year to reach 668,728, compared with 470,241 tourists the previous year.

Petra has a variety of tourist attractions, a renowned international name and an infrastructure that is capable of welcoming more than 1 million visitors a year, PDTRA Chief Commissioner Sulaiman Farajat told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

A number of investments and infrastructure projects are expected to be completed during this year, including Petra Museum and a number of hotels, Farajat added.

The number of hotel rooms in Petra stands at 2,153, with approximately 4,000 beds, according to Farajat, who expects that the number will increase by 150-200 beds during 2019.

There is a need for more accommodation in the rose-red city, according to the official, who called for collective efforts to implement projects that would benefit the local community and tourists alike.

For Jerash, the number of tourists in 2018 reached 260, 250, compared with
201, 750 the previous year, according to the Jerash Directorate of Antiquities.

The total number increased by 13 per cent, while the number of foreign visitors, specifically, rose by 19 per cent, Jerash Director of Antiquities Ziad Ghunaimat told The Jordan Times.

Revenues of the Roman site, 45km north of Amman, reached JD1.9 million, compared with JD1.3 million in 2017, Ghunaimat noted.

Tourism revenues surpassed the $5-billion mark in 2018, marking an 8 per cent increase from the previous year’s $4.6 billion, according to data released by the Central Bank of Jordan earlier this week.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that the sector is continuing to achieve more gains marked by a continuous rise in performance indicators, and that the ministry is moving forward towards scaling up tourism in the Kingdom, in terms of achieving its developmental goals and economic role.

Revenues of archaeological sites increased to reach JD21 million by the end of November 2018, constituting an increase of 36 per cent compared with the same period of 2017, according to the statement. 

While revenues from the unified tickets’ sales by the end of November amounted to nearly JD8.7 million, with 124,580 tickets sold during that period, the statement indicated.

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