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‘Petra authority reaching out to investors, to offer incentives through amended law’

By Khetam Malkawi - Jun 06,2015 - Last updated at Jun 06,2015

AMMAN — Undeterred by the drop in visitors to Jordan and its impact on major tourist sites, the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) is still working on attracting new investments.

PDTRA Chief Commissioner Mohammad Nawafleh said Saturday that the drop in the number of tourists is seasonal and related to the regional turmoil, which is “expected”. “But we hope the situation will improve soon.”

The Cabinet’s endorsement of amendments to the PDTRA Law will encourage businesspeople to invest in Petra, he said, noting that no incentives were previously available for investors.

The Cabinet approved several amendments to the PDTRA Law last week, giving investors in Petra the same incentives granted in development zones such as the Dead Sea and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.

These incentives include a 5 per cent Corporate Income Tax Rate, exemption from sales tax and customs duties, and 100 per cent foreign ownership without the need to have a Jordanian partner.

According to Nawafleh, PDTRA is currently discussing a request by a French investor for a mega-project called “Petra Panorama”. 

He said this shows that the regional turmoil is not affecting investments in Petra, which is located some 235km south of Amman.

“If approved, this is going to be one of the biggest tourism projects here, and it will embody the life of Nabataeans,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The PDTRA chief commissioner noted that the upcoming tourism season, which starts in September, is promising in terms of Petra visitors.

 

“We have reservations for September from now,” Nawafleh said, adding that over the past five months there was a 30 per cent drop in the number of Petra visitors compared to the same period in 2014.

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