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Promotional campaign aims to attract more visitors to Petra

By Khetam Malkawi - Jan 03,2015 - Last updated at Jan 03,2015

AMMAN — The Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), in cooperation with partners in the tourism sector, will launch a promotional campaign to encourage more tourists to visit Petra, a government official said on Saturday.

PDTRA Chief Commissioner Mohammad Nawafleh added that the campaign, scheduled to be launched soon, will include low-cost offers in cooperation with Petra hotels and the Jordan Tourism Board to attract more tourists to the ancient Nabataean city especially in winter, which is usually low season.

The number of visitors to the ancient city dropped by 15 per cent in November 2014, compared with the same month in 2013, according to official figures.

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 2014 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. 

Sector representatives blame the high entry fee to Petra as one of the reasons for the low turnout of tourists.

Mohammad Malhas, a member of Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, said tourists usually complain about high entry fees to Petra, which do not cover any additional services.

Malhas noted that when the decision was taken to increase ticket fees a few years ago, tourists were promised that they would be provided with maps, a souvenir and be transported by an electric car from the back gate to the main entrance.

However, “they are yet to receive any of these services,” he told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

In a previous statement, Michael Nazzal, president of the Jordan Federation of Tourism Associations, said reducing entry fees to the Nabataean city, now JD50, might be one of the solutions to encourage more visitors.

However, this option is not under consideration at present, according to Nawafleh, who told The Jordan Times that the fees will not be reduced.

Instead, he noted, the services promised within the ticket price will be available soon, starting with the electric cars in March to transport visitors. 

In addition, a mobile application has been developed, and as soon as tourists enter Petra, where Wi-Fi Internet connection is available now, they can download the app, which provides a map of the site and other information tourists need to know about Petra.

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