‘Breakthrough’ expected in tourism sector in upcoming months

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Hotel occupancy has seen an increase since the ease of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this month, a sector leader has said. 

“Before the new eased measures went into action, hotel occupancy was very low,” said Abdel Hakim Al-Hindi, president of the Jordan Hotels Association, in remarks to local media.اضافة اعلان

“It did not exceed 13-20 percent at most during the weekends, and no more than 10 percent during weekdays. However, numbers started to pick up since June 20,” he said, explaining that hotels have since reached 60-65 percent occupancy. The eased measures include the lifting of the curfew for those who have been fully vaccinated and the reopening of many sectors.

The increased occupancy indicates a ray of hope for the tourism industry, which has struggled dramatically during the pandemic, an official said.

"We expect that in September and October, the tourism sector will witness a significant breakthrough and growth if Jordan is classified as a green zone,” said Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat, Director General of the Tourism Promotion Authority.

"Jordan is one of the most wanted and preferred countries for tourists,” he added. “That is why I can say that I am optimistic that upcoming days will be better for tourism sectors."

“Tourist movement has begun to gradually return as a result of the measures taken by the government, easing restrictions, opening sectors, and allowing people from some countries to enter Jordan by easing procedures related to the COVID-19 test,” he said. Vaccinated tourists arriving to the country no longer need to register on the online platform in advance.

In 2019, before the pandemic, Jordan witnessed one of its best years in terms of tourism yet. Around 5.36 million tourists visited the country in 2019, netting the country JD4.1 billion in revenue.

But since the airport closed in March 2020, Jordan has struggled to recoup its tourism losses. An ongoing vaccination campaign at tourist destinations such as the Dead Sea and Aqaba hopes to attract guests once more.

Yaser Abdo, a travel agency owner, told Jordan News that "there is a slow improvement in the tourism sector due to the good recent governmental decisions and procedures."

"The main problem here is that some people are afraid from the new phase of COVID-19 because of the wrong rumours they hear,” he said.

"I advise people in this regard to be more courageous and know that travelling, whether inside or outside Jordan, is safe due to the high standard protocols the governments take."

But Mazen Khair, a former ambassador, suggested that the country needs to improve the tourism sector beyond just easing COVID-19 measures.

"Tourists claim that Jordan, compared to its high prices, does not offer good services in addition to the lack of touristic places,” he said.

"We have beautiful areas that we must benefit from,” he added.  “The tourism sector will provide us with big income” if we take advantage of it.

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