Jordan is piloting new Covid-19 testing protocols to open the country up to tourism, according to the managing director of the country’s tourist board.

Dr Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat told Travel Weekly: “We are working on a pilot project to open King Hussein airport in Aqaba, where we aim to start with chartered flights.”

He explained there would be no quarantine, travellers would take a PCR test within 72 hours before departing their airport or origin, and then another PCR test on arrival in Jordan, with results sent to the tourist’s accommodation.

“As it would be charter tour operator flights only, we would know exactly where tourists are going so we would be able to trace them,” he said during an interview as part of this year’s virtual WTM. “We have assigned dedicated quarantine rooms in hotels in case we discover that anyone has tested positive.”

Dr Arabiyat said the project was based on results from other destinations that had opened to international travellers.

“A study conducted by one of our colleagues showed that, in Dubai and Turkey, there was no correlation between opening the airports and the number of Covid cases,” he said. “This gives us a strong argument to put to the government.

“We believe we can allow charter flights to come to Jordan and to mitigate the risk to almost zero by putting these pre- and post-PCR testing protocols in place.

“We are waiting for approval from the government and are hoping this will be granted within the next two weeks.”

Jordan reopened its borders in September but international travellers are currently required to quarantine for a week on arrival.

Dr Arabiyat added that visitor numbers were unlikely to recover to their pre-Covid levels until at least 2024, but that the latest vaccine findings heralded positive news for the industry at large.

“With the news of the vaccine there is a lot of optimism about the future of tourism,” he said.