Jordan’s tourism sector has witnessed a “considerable and promising” increase in the number of visitors since the beginning of the year, particularly from Asian countries, an official said in a recent interview.
The number of overall tourists reached 1.639 million visitors during the first four months of this year, compared to nearly 1.457 million over the same period last year, registering a 12.5 per cent growth, said Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Managing Director Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat.
Meanwhile, the number of Asian tourists visiting the Kingdom from January to April nearly doubled compared to the same period last year, registering an increase in from 79,274 to 117,544 visitors.
The official attributed this increase to the opening of a JTB office in China two years ago, as well as the digital marketing campaigns that mainly target social media outlets which are heavily used in China.
He added that the JTB’s cooperation agreement with Emirates Airlines has helped offer Chinese tourists flights at competitive prices.
The JTB is currently working to expand its marketing campaigns in China and on qualifying tour guides who are competent in the Chinese language in order to meet the rise in Chinese visitors, who mainly visit Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum.
Meanwhile, Malaysian and Indonesian visitors tend to visit Jordan for religious purposes.
The number of African visitors increased by nearly 28.8 per cent over the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year, while visitors from the Americas increased by nearly 19.3 per cent, Europe by 18.3 per cent and Arab countries by 7.6 per cent over the same period.
In a bid to encourage Jordanian expatriates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to visit the Golden Triangle (Aqaba, Petra, Wadi Rum) during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, the JTB has supported a charter flight that will connect Aqaba and Dubai.
These direct flights will start this Tuesday for 100 euros (JD80) for a roundtrip flight, Arabiyat said, estimating that visitors and expatiates would spend nearly JD 800-1,600 in Jordan during these trips.
Other marketing campaigns aim to address the larger potential market in the Gulf countries, through televised marketing and social media outlets.
The JTB and the Tourism Ministry will continue to support the “Al Urdun Ahla” (Jordan is the most beautiful) programme to enhance domestic tourism and provide 40 per cent of its funding, he said, noting that a number of festivals will take place in all governorates, in addition to the famous Jerash and Fuheis festivals.
By hosting performances of internationally recognised musicians like the Greek composer and pianist Yanni and the Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, who will perform in Jerash on September 18, Jordan seeks to reassure its global audience of its internal security, Arabiyat said.
The same message is reiterated by hosting regional and international conferences like the Arab League summit and the World Economic Forum, he added.
Arabiyat underlined partnership with the private sector as a key factor to successfully advance the sector’s performance.