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    Hotel sector hopes to bounce back as restrictions ease

    February 2, 2021

    AMMAN — The hotel sector is hoping for a revival after the government’s decision to reopen hotel facilities as of February 1, according to a sector representative.

    The rose-red city of Petra has been completely closed since the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020 until this day and hotel occupancy rates are very weak in Amman, Aqaba and the Dead Sea region, according to officials.

    President of the Jordan Hotel Association Abd Al Hakim Al Hindi on Sunday met with Director General of the Social Security Corporation (SSC) Hazim Rahahleh to discuss the economic conditions of tourist hotels and the measures that can be taken to support the continuity of the hotel business.

    “The meeting with the general director of the SSC was successful, we have made positive decisions in favour of hotels, mainly issuing a clearance for hotels for one month for the purpose of getting their licence from the Ministry of Tourism without the condition of financial settlement but by installments,” Hindi noted.

    There are exceptions and special facilities for hotels in Petra with regard to their installment dues, Hindi said, adding that joint-stock companies and companies with limited liability were exempted from the requirement of a sponsor.

    “There will be no seizing of property or bank accounts for establishments that are in the process of initiating financial settlement,” he said.

    Hindi added that they are working with the Ministry of Tourism and the Jordan Tourism Board to set a “new mechanism for international tourism”.

    “These decisions are a good initiative, but they are not sufficient for saving hotels. The tourism sector is in great need for an economic recovery plan,” Salah Al Bitar, president of the Hotel Association in Aqaba told The Jordan Times on Monday.

    The SSC will also study the possibility of extending the application of old-age insurance suspension programme to preserve the rights of workers in tourism.

    “We hope that the government will now direct support to small enterprises which make up 94 per cent of the national economy, and amend the defence orders to ensure the continuity of all sectors’ work,” Bitar noted.

    Bitar also commended the government’s decision to open hotel facilities, saying that it will be an encouraging factor for people to go to hotels, especially in Aqaba, which has favourable weather conditions.


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