Increased visitors revive economic activity in Petra, Jerash

Tourism accounts for around 13 percent of Jordan’s GDP, and employs more than 55,000 people. (Photos: Unsplash)
AMMAN — The world-renowned archaeological sites of Petra and Jerash have recorded a remarkable increase in the number of visitors in 2021 compared with last year, reviving economic activity in the two cities and bringing hotels back to business, officials said Tuesday.اضافة اعلان

In November this year, the ancient city of Petra received 41,466 visitors with an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous month, the highest hike in numbers in a single month since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, according to Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) Chief Commissioner Sulaiman Farajat.

In November 2020, Petra received only 1801 tourists in total, compared to 152,576 in November 2019, months before the closure of Petra Archaeological Park due to the emergence of COVID-19, according to PDTRA’s figures.

Low-cost aviation and cruise ships contributed to boosting the turnout of foreign tourists in Petra and provided positive indicators for tourism recovery, Farajat told Jordan News, adding that it is “too early” to predict the impact of the pandemic on the ancient city’s tourism in the coming season.  

In 2019, Petra celebrated its first 1 millionth visitor in its history, a short-lived celebration that was followed by a complete lockdown due to the pandemic.
The total number of visitors to Petra in 2019 reached 1,135,300, while in 2020 it plummeted to 271,760, recording one of the largest drops in the history of the site. 

Jerash received 13, 250 foreign and Jordanian visitors in October this year, recording the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Jerash Tourism Directorate.

In 2020, the number of visitors to Jerash Archaeological Site dropped to 81,748 visitors, 40 percent of which were Jordanians, compared to 475,526 in 2019, with Jordanians making up 20 percent of visitors, according to Jerash Tourism Director Feras Khatatbeh, who credited the increase in the number of Jordanian visitors to internal tourism promotional programs that were carried out by the Ministry of Tourism such as “Urdun Jannah”.

According to official figures, tourism accounts for around 13 percent of Jordan’s GDP, and employs more than 55,000 people.

Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and as one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’ in 2007, becoming one of the world’s biggest attractions, while Jerash stands as the second largest attraction, known today as one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities.

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