Omicron adds insult to injury to Jordan’s inbound tourism

Dead Sea Marriott Flickr
The number of tourists arriving to Jordan is only expected to decline with the emergence of the Omicron variant. (Photo: Flickr)
AMMAN — Jordan’s hotels are bracing for a potential decline in inbound tourism and hotel reservations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of the Omicron variant. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the tourism industry in Jordan has been particularly vulnerable to economic losses, and the arrival of new variants will only serve to create further challenges.اضافة اعلان

President of the Jordan Hotel Association Abdelhakim Al-Hindi estimates that there has been a 20 percent drop in total hotel reservations across the Kingdom, since the initial discovery of the Omicron variant globally, according to a local media organization. He said that much of this decline is coming from numerous cancellations of hotel reservations, due to the threat of Omicron and the stringent new local regulations that have resulted from it.

Chairman of the Dead Sea Spa Hotel Company Michael Nazzal told Jordan News that Omicron is bound to negatively affect the tourism sector and the hotel industry in Jordan. “Since Jordan has become a ‘red country’ to most of Europe and the US, it’s very difficult for some tourists to come to Jordan.”

Because foreign tourists have to quarantine in their respective countries, Jordan will accordingly lose much more than 20 percent of its hotel reservations, Nazzal predicted, before adding that this will most likely be the case “until Jordan’s situation improves in relation to Europe and the US.”

According to Nazzal, the Dead Sea Spa Resort, like all hotels and resorts throughout the Kingdom, is complying with all the legally mandated COVID-19 protocols enshrined by Defense Order 35, which includes checking the vaccination status of incoming tourists, but that this is currently being done amidst a “reduction in clientele”.

Nazzal also assured that most of the economic challenges facing Jordanian hotels are exclusively a result of the pandemic. “Before the pandemic, the hotel industry was doing just fine, but then the pandemic came and really impacted tourism across the whole world. As long as Jordan remains a ‘red country’, boosting reservations will be difficult.”

May Sammour, the general manager of Ayass Hotel in Amman also told Jordan News that Jordan’s health situation has most likely led to a number of recent cancellations for hotel reservations, while noting that new institutional quarantine measures could also be deterring future visitors at the moment.

“Anticipated hotel reservations at the moment are below what was expected for the holiday season. If foreign visitors will have to pay additional costs for PCR tests and quarantine, despite coming for leisure and tourism, they will most probably rethink (visiting) Jordan.”

Sammour also confirmed that Ayass Hotel is complying with the latest COVID-19 protocols from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Jordan Hotels Association, which mandates that the hotel’s workforce must be fully vaccinated in order to legally operate.

“If any employee isn’t fully vaccinated in the tourism sector, then they must provide PCR test results twice a week. This regulation is not confined to Ayass Hotel, but is applied across the whole industry.”

Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat told Jordan News that any negative consequences that other countries face from Omicron will also most likely be felt by Jordan.

“Contrary to what some might assume, the board has actually noticed some promising growth rates for hotels during October and November of 2021, before the disruptive announcement of the Omicron variant. We need to wait and see data from upcoming weeks about the variant’s measurable effects on the latest numbers,” he remarked.

Arabiyat assured Jordan News that the Ministry of Health is vigorously monitoring the industry’s compliance with all the required protocol measures, and that they are taking the issue very seriously.

Read more National news