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Tourism in Aqaba withstands pandemic impact– ASEZA

By Batool Ghaith - Sep 28,2021 - Last updated at Sep 28,2021

Deputy Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Sharhabeel Madi speaks to reporters during a media tour of Jordan’s southern region (Photo courtesy of Methkal Al Muhairat/JTB)

WADI RUM — Aqaba was not negatively affected by the pandemic, as it witnessed significant domestic tourism rates and lost only 45 to 50 per cent of in-bound tourism, according to Deputy Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Sharhabeel Madi.

Madi’s comments came during a three-day media tour of southern Jordan in Wadi Rum, which ended on Saturday. The tour was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB).

There were no hotel closures in Aqababecauseof the pandemic and the region is currently “back to how it was” prior to COVID-19 restrictions, Madi added.

“Maritime activities in Aqaba had a significant impact on raising its tourism rates. Occupancy rates for hotels in Aqaba currently range from 60 to 95 percent, in which transit tourism contributes to the operation of hotels and tourist facilities in the region," he said.

He stressed the importance of the events and activities carried out by the JTB in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism in reviving tourism in Jordan’s "Golden Triangle" (Petra, Aqaba and Wadi Rum).

Madi continued that "the events currently taking place in Wadi Rum are the first of theirkind. There is a calendar of different events until the end of the year and will hopefully continue to attract local, regional and international tourism in the coming years as well.”

He pointed out that from October there will be new programmes for tourists, such as desert adventures, and events related to Jordanian folklore and heritage.

According to Madi, the winter tourism season from September until May "will have a great impact on activating the tourism movement, and there are good expectations for the winter season.”

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nayef Al Fayez attended a concert by the Jordanian artist Tariq Al Nasser along with the Rum music band in the middle of the Wadi Rum desert.

Sarah Amir, a 25-year-old Jordanian who attended the concert, expressed how happy she was with the atmosphere and the music.

“My friends and I are very excited to be here. Wadi Rum’s weather at this time of year is perfect and I am glad that there are such events which we can have fun in,” she told The Jordan Times.

The media tour ended in Aqaba at the Marine Biology Museum in Aqaba, which is the only research centre in the Gulf of Aqaba and identifies all existing marine life in the Red Sea.

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