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Ministry upbeat with 20% rise in tourist numbers recorded in July

By Dana Al Emam - Aug 18,2015 - Last updated at Aug 18,2015

Tourists visit the Roman Theatre in downtown Amman recently (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The “positive” tourism indicators in July bode well for the sector’s performance next year, Tourism Minister Nayef Al Fayez said Monday. 

A total of 422,254 tourists visited Jordan in July, registering a 20 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, including some 337,000 overnight visitors, 30 per cent higher than last July.

The sector’s revenues in July stood at JD250.6 million, compared with JD196.6 million during the same month last year, according to the ministry’s figures based on information provided by the Central Bank of Jordan.

At a meeting with the press, Fayez said the sector is “moving in the right direction although some issues still remain”.

He cited the government-funded campaigns implemented by the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) as a major move that contributed to a higher influx of tourists, in addition to cancelling entry visa fees for visitors who buy unified tickets for 39 tourist sites, which is aimed at extending their stay in Jordan.

The minister said the number of Arab-Israelis visiting Jordan and staying over three nights rose by 50 per cent due to decreasing visa fees from JD40 to JD10. 

Addressing the decrease in the number of visitors to Petra, some 235km south of Amman, the ministry, in cooperation with Ministry of Finance, has exempted tourist institutions in the region from penalties on income and sales tax delays. 

But looking at the bigger picture, the end of the summer vacation season will be accompanied by a drop in the number of visitors, especially Jordanian expatriates and tourists from Arab countries, who form the majority of visitors.

Therefore, the ministry seeks to promote Jordan as a tourist destination for Arabs all-year-round, and to attract tourists from nontraditional markets, said Fayez.

He added that facilities at tourist sites will be revamped in partnership with the private sector.  

Political and economic conditions in the region have affected the tourism sector, causing a drop in the number of visitors and revenues, the minister said.

Over the January-July period this year, the number of tourists was around 2.8 million, compared to some 3 million visitors over the same period in 2014, which led to a drop in tourism revenues from around JD1.8 billion over the first half of 2014 to around JD1.6 billion during the same period this year.

For his part, JTB Managing Director Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat said of the government-funded campaign are currently promoting tourist attractions — mainly Petra and Aqaba — in Britain, Germany and France.

The marketing campaigns target public parks and means of public transport for maximum exposure, he said, adding that the campaigns include an online component.

Once the step proves successful, the board will start another campaign in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Korea, according to Arabiyat. 

In September, the JTB is scheduled to host up to 250 journalists and bloggers from all over the world to encourage them to publish stories on tourist sites in Jordan.


Meanwhile, the ministry’s secretary general, Issa Gammoh, said a new by-law regulating the management of tourist sites will be issued soon, adding that part of the entry tickets will be allocated for developing sites and services. 

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