Jordanian tourism minister explains secret to improving his country’s summer tourist season

Strict compliance with health regulations, mass vaccination in areas popular for tourists have contributed to the increase in inter-Arab tourism despite the pandemic

(Amman) Jordanian Tourism Minister Nayef al Fayez said the secret to improving his country’s summer tourist season is strict compliance with health regulations.

In an exclusive interview with Media Line, Al Fayez explained that the discipline and political will of Jordan’s top decision-makers have helped overcome some of the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “We have made the decision of the government to follow the WHO guidelines and we have given the Ministry of Health and the relevant bodies they created all authority to make the best decision as to the way forward,” he said. he said, referring to the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization.

Al Fayez said the policy has paid dividends against a backdrop of a marked increase in inter-Arab tourism over the summer, and he hopes that in the fall, international tourism will reflect this change as well.

Jordanian Minister of Tourism Nayef al Fayez. (Authorization / Jordanian Ministry of Tourism)

“We are not yet reaching the record number of (tourists arriving in) 2019, but we have had a good summer in terms of tourists from Arab countries to Jordan. We hope that the autumn / winter season of international tourism will also be a marked improvement, ”he told The Media Line.

Hotels in Jordan had an occupancy rate of 70% this summer, according to the Jordan Hotels Association.

One of the reasons for the improvement in the number of tourists is the fact that the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism has been given priority to receive vaccines against the coronavirus.

“Just after doctors, tourism workers were given priority in vaccination. We have made sure that all those linked to tourism, including many young people, receive the vaccine, ”the minister said. In addition, Al Fayez said that instead of waiting for tourism workers to travel to an agreed location, the health ministry addressed them. “We went to see the association of hotel owners, tourist office unions and guide unions and made it easier for them to get the necessary vaccine,” he said.

One of the first successes was the idea of ​​a “golden triangle”. “We noticed that Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba are all sparsely populated even though they are high attraction sites, so we created a golden triangle where we vaccinated almost everyone living in those places and we rest assured that no one entered unless they were vaccinated, “he explained.

Al Fayez says the combined effort of the ministries of health and tourism has produced clear rewards. Last year the tourism industry brought in $ 1.5 billion and “we expect it to be better this year,” he said. For comparison, in 2019, tourism revenues reached $ 5.6 billion.

Just after doctors, tourism workers were given priority in vaccination. We made sure that everyone related to tourism, including many young people, received the vaccine

Jordan has made it much easier to enter the kingdom if you come from a ‘safe’ country with a low number of coronaviruses. “You no longer need to be tested twice. If you can prove that you have already taken a PCR test within the previous 72 hours, you no longer need to be tested on arrival as long as you come from a safe country, ”he said.

In addition to Arab tourists, Jordan was also able to make a breakthrough in Africa with the establishment of a regular procedure for Christian tourists from Nigeria to visit Jordan, which is home to the site of Jesus’ baptism as well as more than 100 places mentioned in the Bible. Jordan hopes that more and more Christian tourists will realize that in addition to visiting Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth, there are many places in Jordan that are directly related to the Christian faith.

According to a study by the World Tourism Organization, in cooperation with the Jordan National Tourism and Aviation Science Training Academy, dozens of hotels and over 400 tourist restaurants and 400 popular restaurants and cafes in Jordan have closed, leaving around 14,000 employees jobless. .

Tourism in Jordan accounts for 13% of gross domestic product.

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