Promising Q1 results help Jordan tourism recover from Arab Spring shocks

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A view of the Roman remains in Jerash, northern Jordan. Photo - Ibrahim Kattan

The Jordan Tourism Board announced it aims to increase the number of tourists to the country by 30% by the end of 2015. Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), hoped the number of tourists worldwide to hit one billion mark this year, up from 982 million in 2011.

He also said that Jordan will be among the countries to benefit from the global growth thanks to the country’s ‘solid roots’ in tourism industry.

“The international community still has confidence in Jordan and tourism is the future of this region in general and Jordan in particular,” the top Jordanian official said.

Rifai made his remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the International Conference on Seizing Tourism Market Opportunities in Times of Rapid Change, which opened on Tuesday at the Dead Sea.

During his speech, Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, pointed out that the industry’s revenues witnessed a boost of 10.5% during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, when tourist numbers and revenues dropped due to regional unrest.

Jordan saw a decline of 42% last year compared to the year before.

Fayez insisted that investment in tourism will continue despite the sector’s instability last year, noting that 5,000 hotel rooms are currently under construction in the Hashemite Kingdom.

David Scowsill, president of World Travel and Tourism Council, insisted that tourism is the third largest industry in the world, contributing 9% of global GDP while employing 98 million people and providing job opportunities to marginalised groups and women.

Tourism Minister Nayef Fayez also disclosed that the country’s tourism industry lost about 700 million dinars ($986 million) last year due to regional unrest, Amman-based Al-Rai newspaper reported.

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