Tourists opt for beaches during heat wave

1. Picture
A general view of the Jordanian capital Amman. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/JNews)

AMMAN — Hotel occupancy in Amman and Petra fell this week by 28 percent and 2 percent respectively, but increased elsewhere especially in areas with beaches because of the heat wave pounding the Kingdom, according to tour agents.اضافة اعلان

Abd Al-Hakim Al-Hindi, head of the Jordan Hotels Association (JHA), told Jordan News that occupancy rates in the Dead Sea increased by 3 percent to a record 79 percent of their capacity.

In the Red Sea resort city of Aqaba, the hotel occupancy reached 80 percent, with the concentration being in areas near the beaches, where an 85 percent hotel occupancy was recorded, Hindi said.

Jordan’s Tourism Board did not respond to repeated calls for comment by Jordan News.

Hindi said that there was no substantial decrease, if the hotel occupancy rates were compared to the same period in 2021, when strict health protocols under the COVID-19 pandemic were in place.

“One can safely assume that the occupancy rates for the current year are close to 2019, due to the abolition of the health protocols last March”, he added.

But he explained that there were some areas, where hotel occupancy and facilities affiliated with hotels dropped because of the heat wave.

According to Hindi, the income ratio increased during the first seven months of this year, partly due to festivals held in the Kingdom. He said the number of tourists visiting Jordan exceeded 2.5 million, a 220.4 percent jump over the corresponding period of 2021.

Official figures show that the tourism income shot up by 204.5 percent to JD2.034 billion during the same period this year, compared with the same period in 2021.

Awni Kawar, president of Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, dismissed that the rise in temperature affected tourism activity. He insisted that the main tourism season in the Kingdom begins in mid-September.

“Most of the sightseers in Jordan now are Spaniards and Italians, who are accustomed to hot weather,” he told Jordan News.

He explained that the varying daily temperature, which soars during daytime but falls at night, is an added advantage.

In Petra, he noted, temperatures fall considerably at night, giving a unique cool breeze.

Ahmed Malhas, a member of the Tourist Guides Association, warned that the temperature rise directly affects tourism activity, especially since the goal of tourists is to visit historic and archaeological sites in Jordan.

Tour operator Atef Zeidan said the tourists from Italy and Spain who are sightseeing in Jordan now are familiar with the Kingdom’s hot weather.

“Other European tourists usually visit Jordan in the spring or autumn,” when temperatures are more acceptable to them. He said he doubted that the heat wave will bear serious negative repercussions on Jordan’s hotel sector.

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