Caravan tourism returns after 10 years

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People enjoying the Jerash ruins in an undated photo. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Tourist companies are again organizing caravan tourism trips to Jordan after a break of 10 years. The first began on December 8, and the assembly point was Jerash Governorate.اضافة اعلان

Atef Zeidan, one of the tour guides accompanying these caravans, told Jordan News: "Previously, these private caravans with different European nationalities used to move by land. They used to start their trip from Europe, then to Turkey, Syria, and finally to Jordan. Due to the conditions in some of these countries, which made it difficult for the caravans to cross land borders, these trips to Jordan were stopped for 10 years."

This year, 35 vehicles were shipped to Jordan through the port of Aqaba. They were divided into three groups, each with a different itinerary. One group stayed in the "golden triangle", Aqaba, Wadi Rum, and Petra, then continued to Jerash. A second group started from Aqaba, on to Wadi Rum, Madaba, Azraq, and Jerash. The third started from Aqaba to Petra, Karak, Dead Sea, and Jerash.

Zeidan added that governorates such as Irbid and Ajloun are visited after they gather in Jerash, when the groups will be divided again to complete their tours.
"Ten years ago, these tours took 10 to 12 days, as tourists used to spend days in Syria, Turkey, and other countries. This year, the tour lasts 18 days, and tourists get to visit all regions of Jordan," said Zeidan.

The tourists, he said, were delighted with their trip. They praised the Jordanians’ hospitality; “they even struck friendships with them and drank tea in their homes,” he said.

Firas Al-Khatatbeh, director of Jerash Tourism, told Jordan News that Jerash received 23 caravans and 47 visitors of different European nationalities at the Jerash Visitors Centre until Sunday noon.

Jerash was chosen as the gathering point because it "is an important tourist attraction, and that tourists have visited all the tourist areas in the governorate so far. Also, its central geographical location has a major role in giving tourists the opportunity to move freely to neighboring areas," said Khatatbeh.

He added that giving these tourists the opportunity to move among the residents of Jerash enables them to get acquainted with the customs and traditions of the region.

“The direct interaction creates special memories that make people want to visit again,” he added.

Khatatbeh also said that visitors do not perform only historical tourism, but also ecotourism, medical tourism, adventure tourism, and others. Visiting most areas of Jordan enables them to enjoy many different activities.

Zeidan said that there should be more tourism companies specialized in caravan tourism, especially since such type of tourism is not limited to specific seasons.

“We submitted requests to the Ministry of Tourism, and then to the Ministry of Interior and the General Intelligence Department. Our request to allocate different places as parking spaces for these vehicles was met favorably. We also witnessed greater regulation in the entry of caravans to the port of Aqaba and faster verification of passports and license plates,” he said.

Ministry of Tourism Media Spokesman Ahmed Al-Rifai told Jordan News that caravan tourism is widespread in European countries, and that while Jordan used to receive this type of tourists 10 years ago, that stopped during the Arab Spring, but “this year we are back receiving these tours".

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