Jordanian tourism is almost back to pre-COVID days

Visits to Petra and to the Christian baptismal site on the Jordan River have witnessed the biggest tourism surge.

 SCENES FROM JORDAN: The Al Manara luxury resort, the breathtaking Petra and Wadi Rum. (photo credit: TALY SHARON)
SCENES FROM JORDAN: The Al Manara luxury resort, the breathtaking Petra and Wadi Rum.
(photo credit: TALY SHARON)

Jordan’s tourism industry has almost totally regained its previous successful momentum, says Tourism Minister Nayef al-Fayez. He told Media Line that already “the Jordanian tourism sector has reached over 85% of the rates of tourists and revenues that were accomplished in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more stories from The Media Line go to themedialine.org

Jordan’s Tourism Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Refair added that, in the first eight months of 2022, over three million tourists have visited the country. “The number of tourists that entered Jordan since January was 3.174 million and the revenue of the tourism sector was 2.03 billion Jordanian dinars ($2.8 billion).”

“The number of tourists that entered Jordan since January was 3.174 million and the revenue of the tourism sector was 2.03 billion Jordanian dinars ($2.8 billion).”

Jordans Tourism Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Refair

There were 3.67 million tourists to Jordan in 2019 with a revenue of 2.26 billion dinars, meaning that Jordan has reached over 85% of pre-COVID tourism numbers, noted the ministry spokesman.

Jordanian hotelier Hanna Sawalha, the owner of Nebo Tours based in Amman, sounded upbeat about travelers to Jordan. 

 SCENES FROM JORDAN: The Al Manara luxury resort, the breathtaking Petra and Wadi Rum. (credit: TALY SHARON) SCENES FROM JORDAN: The Al Manara luxury resort, the breathtaking Petra and Wadi Rum. (credit: TALY SHARON)

“The situation is returning to normal, and our offices have been busy with reservations. Already October and November are full,” Sawalha told the Media Line.

Sawalha credits the increase in tourists and tourism revenue to the low-cost flights approved by Jordan. 

“I know that some of my tourism companies are not happy with low-cost flights, because they don’t directly benefit from them, but this has been a very good decision for Jordan and Jordanian tourism as a whole,” she said.

Visitors to Jordan come from different countries and have varied interests, ranging from religion to adventure to medical tourism. 

Visits to Petra and to the Christian baptismal site on the Jordan River have witnessed the biggest tourism surge. Visitors to the Petra site, for example, have increased by 300%, according to tourism officials. 

Some 10,000 Christian pilgrims have visited Al-Maghtas on the east bank of the Jordan, traditionally known as the location of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, so far this year with an increase of 400% over last year.

Engineer Rustom Makajian, who operates the baptismal site, told reporters that the increase of pilgrims from around the world to Jordan is a sign of growing interest in this particular UNESCO world heritage site.

Jordanian hotels increase their space despite the previous tourism drop

Despite the previous drop in tourism due to the pandemic, plans to increase hotel space continue. This year the capital, Amman, witnessed the opening of the five-star Ritz Carlton hotel, and more and more hoteliers are trying to cater to the three- and four-star hotel business.

Nael Hashweh, a founding board member of the Gulf-based Rotana hotel chain, opened the Centro by Rotana hotel on Airport Road in west Amman this summer. He told The Media Line that business at his four-star-plus hotel has been better than expected.