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    JTB head highlights economic role of Jordan's tourism sector

    June 17, 2022

    Amman, June 16 (Petra)-Jordan's tourism sector has begun to recover, based on the number of tickets and hotel occupancy during the first quarter of 2022, Director-General of the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat, said.

    According to a JTB statement on Thursday, he noted tourism sector has proven to be the 'main' catalyst of many activities and businesses and a 'major' source of hard currency.

    Rate of hotel room reservations in ancient city of Petra is forecast to reach 100% between next September and November, he noted.

    Speaking at the media forum organized by the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), Arabiyat said the JTB's budget is JD71 million, adding that Jordan enjoys climatic diversity and availability of tourist and archaeological sites, foremost are Petra, Jerash, Baptism Site and the Dead Sea.

    Religious tourism in Jordan is 'important,' especially since Christianity's roots existed in Jordan, and the Kingdom has key attractions, including the Baptism Site.

    The most important challenges facing Jordan's tourism sector is that 90% of tourists from Europe resort to low-cost travel and flights, he noted.

    Tourists coming to Jordan pay a tax at the airport worth JD40-50, he noted, adding that the government has taken a decision to cancel landing taxes at Marka International Airport (MIA) and Aqaba King Hussein International Airport, in support of tourism and the gov't is mulling plans to license MIA as an int'l airport.

    Referring to the government's decision to approve subsidized aviation in 2018 and 2019, he noted its outcomes reflected on the number of European tourist missions that arrived to Jordan before the Covid-19 pandemic.

    On steps to support tourism sectors, he said the tax has been reduced from 16 to 8 percent, and the Cabinet has taken a decision to treat any tourist enterprise, regardless of its location or type, as a business in Jordan's development zones, in terms of exemptions.

    Local tourism pattern has begun to draw youth attention and their initiatives drive this type of activities with individual efforts supported by civil society and donors, he pointed out.

    Noting a tendency to diversify tourism sources to reduce risks to the sector, he referred to plans to invest in local communities, such as medical, educational, adventure tourism.

    Since March 2022, he noted Ryanair has flown 74,000 tourists, only 14% are Jordanians, adding that other airlines, including Royal Jordanian, fly 50% of their passengers in transit flights.

    On JTB's efforts, he said it carries out its promotional and e-marketing activities on various social platforms 'professionally,' as Jordan has ranked among the the top ten countries in the world in this field and the JTB won the world's best promotional film.

    JTB, he noted, is interested in attracting tourists, whose stay exceeds five days, to contribute to stimulating all tourism businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, travel offices, and other related businesses.

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