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    Aqaba received 1 million tourists since beginning of 2022 — ASEZA-

    September 19, 2022

    AMMAN — The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) said that one million tourists have visited Aqaba since the beginning of the year, Al Mamlaka TV reported.

    Tourism expert Rajaa Jazzar said that one million is a “good number”, and has the chance to increase further as tourist season begins this month and will continue through November.

    “The question is who the one million people are. We need to see if there are numbers from different nationalities to see the effects of the way the ministry is promoting Jordan,” Jazzar told The Jordan Times.

    She suggested that Jordanian expats likely represent a large portion of this figure.

    Jazzar noted that her idea of “success” would be to “sell Aqaba as a destination worth a seven-night stay to foreigners travelling via charter flights, which is why the one million figure does not necessarily mean success, as it is mainly Jordanian expats.”

    Jazzar recommended that Aqaba should be promoted as a week-long destination, instead of just a weekend, as during the week, it is almost vacant, except in summer.

    She said that Aqaba is currently considered a “Jordanian weekend destination”, rather than a resort for foreigners.

    Jalal Ramahi, a sales officer at a five-star hotel in Aqaba, told The Jordan Times that foreign tourism season has just begun, and workers are “optimistic”.

    “After almost two years without travelling, large numbers of people are travelling again, so we are picking up the pace. We had a great summer season,” Ramahi said.

    He noted that most tourists in Aqaba stay between two and three nights at a maximum.

    “Tourists visit Aqaba as part of a bigger trip to Wadi Rum and Petra, so their time here is always short,” Ramahi explained.

    He mentioned that occupancy rates this month have ranged between 75 and 90 per cent.

    Economic analyst Hosam Ayesh emphasised that one million tourists is a “promising and great number for only eight months”.

    “The figure indicated that Aqaba had 4,000 new tourists in Aqaba per day. If each tourist spends JD100, that would be great revenue. The hotel occupancy rates are also high compared with previous times after the pandemic,” Ayesh told The Jordan Times.

    According to the numbers, approximately 20 per cent of Jordan’s tourism revenue comes from Aqaba, he said.

    “The most important data point for tourist activity is the number of overnight stays. The more they increase, the more revenue we get. Those in charge of tourism, whether in the government or the private sector, should focus on tourism programmes and events that will keep tourists in Jordan for a longer period of time,” Ayesh said.

    He also noted that it is necessary to study how to make other tourist locations in the Kingdom more attractive.

    Tourist programmes must be changed, developed and updated. Innovation and modernisation are among the needs of tourist attractions, especially in light of strong competition. Jordan is part of a regional tourism system that must have better investment,” Ayesh continued.


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