220% more tourists visit Petra in January this year than in January 2021

In December 2021, 33,338 tourists visited Petra. (Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN —  Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) latest statistics on the number of visitors to Petra in January 2022 show a 220 percent increase over the January 2021 figures.اضافة اعلان

PDTRA Chief Commissioner Suleiman Farajat told Jordan News: “The data from the PDTRA shows that in January of this year, 14,866 people of various nationalities visited Petra; of these, 10,742 were foreign visitors, 1,115 Arab visitors, and approximately 3,009 Jordanian nationals. Compared to the 3,517 visitors in January 2021, the increase is sizable.”

In December 2021, 33,338 tourists visited iconic Petra, a higher figure than that of January this year, which, Farajat said, is a normal occurrence.

“The tourism season in Petra often sees good numbers during September, October, and November, and then the number of visitors typically begins to decrease slightly in December and January,” he said, adding that tourism picks up in Petra by mid-February, “so we will find out in the coming weeks if there are any signs of recovery”.

Farajat said he is forecasting a promising year for tourism in Petra this year.

“I am optimistic that tourism numbers this year will be up to our expectations. Petra is one of the world’s new seven wonders, it is a unique place with a rich history. Quite simply, there is no other place in the world like Petra,” he said.

In the recent past, tourists have been coming mostly from Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, he said, adding that over 80 percent of the population in the Petra region “relies directly or indirectly on tourism, so it is undoubtedly an important sector”.

Mahmoud Khasawneh, member of the board of directors of the Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents told Jordan News: “I do not find these latest statistics, which show an increase in inbound tourism for January 2022 compared to that same month last year, very surprising since for much of the beginning of 2021, there was almost no inbound tourism at all. The tourism industry was largely closed between March 17, 2020, and June 1, 2021, due to pandemic-related regulations at airports.”

Khasawneh suggested an alternative comparison for Petra’s tourism numbers.

“A preferable way to show the real numbers related to Petra tourism would be to compare the statistics on visits to Petra in 2022 with the figures from 2019, because the latter year was a pre-pandemic time period. There were over 1 million visitors to Petra alone in 2019. That year was a great year for tourism in Jordan.”

Khasawneh said that since the entry fee per foreign tourist is JD50, “inbound tourism can be quite lucrative for the Kingdom”.

Commenting on the impact of Omicron on Jordanian tourism, Khasawneh said that “Jordan began to witness a slight recovery in tourism in June 2021, but Omicron impacted the country’s tourism sector recovery plan.”

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