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Jordan, September 10, 2020
JSF report paints grim picture for tourism sector

AMMAN — A total of 23,535 jobs out of 53,488 in the tourism sector will be lost in 2020 in Jordan, comprising 46 per cent of the total workforce in the sector, the Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF) said in a report released on Tuesday.

The forum, in the report issued on the performance of the tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, anticipated that tourist revenues in 2020 will drop by 58 per cent ($2.4 billion) compared with $5.8 billion collected in 2019, according to a JSF statement.

The report noted that Jordan managed to improve its tourism sector that has maintained uptrend growth rates since 2016, when in 2019 it recorded the highest growth rate that was accompanied with tourism revenues of JD4.1 billion, welcoming 5.4 million tourists.

The number of tourist arrivals to the Kingdom in January and February of 2020 increased by 12.2 and 15.9 per cent respectively compared with the same period last year, the report indicated, adding that March 2020 witnessed a 59.2 per cent decline compared with the same month of 2019.

Tourism revenues in the first five months of 2020 dropped by 47.9 per cent when compared with the same period of 2019, the JSF noted.

The report shed light on a series of support programmes launched by the government in conjunction with the issuance of defence orders as of March 19.

The JSF also highlighted measures implemented by the government, represented by the Ministry of Tourism, to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the sector, such as launching the Urdun Jannah programme, under which the ministry subsidised 40 per cent of costs of local tourist trips.

With the aim of helping hotels in light of closing borders for tourism and endeavours to curb the spread of the virus upon the return of Jordanian expatriates, the government used five- and four-star hotels in Amman, the Dead Sea area and Aqaba as quarantine motels, the report added.

The JSF also drew attention to the expectations of the World Tourism Organisation for the international tourism sector to lose $850 million to $1 billion, and some 100,000 international tourists, in addition to losing $910 billion to $1.2 trillion from tourist revenues and the possibility of losing 100 to 120 million jobs in the sector at the global level.