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After a rocky start to the year, with year-on-year arrivals dropping every month until June, Jordan has turned a corner.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nayef Hmeidi Al-Fayez said: “From July, numbers started to take off again. After a two digit drop in global visitors numbers in the first six months of the year, we have reduced this to 7% and hope to improve again by the end of the year. Revenues were down 16% until the end of June, but by September we narrowed the gap to 8%.”
The first half of the year saw a raft of tourists cancelling or postponing their trips due to fears for the safety of the region.
“We changed our approach to clarify the misconceptions about Jordan,” says Al-Fayez. “We invited lots of press and media to the country and adjusted our marketing campaigns.”
Al-Fayez says the UK has reacted more quickly than other destinations in terms of recovery. The tourism ministry wants not only to attract more tourists but to extend the season and increase the duration of stay.
Recent initiatives include the launch of the Jordan Pass two months ago, which allows entry to 40 sites over a two-week period for £65. Travellers with a Jordan pass who stay in the country for more than three nights are exempt from paying a fee for their visa on arrival. Departure taxes have also been reduced.
Next year will see the centenary of Lawrence of Arabia, and the ministry is building packages around related experiences.
Tourism currently contributes 13% of Jordanian GDP, but the hope is to grow this to 18% by 2025.
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