Tourism sector urges lowering taxes on visitors

Queen Alia International Airport
Queen Alia International Airport is considered one of the most expensive airports in the world in terms of tax imposed on passengers. (Photo: JNews)
AMMAN — Director–General of the Jordan Tourism Board Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat said that a main obstacle to the board’s drive to attract tourists to the Kingdom is the high tax levied on travelers departing from Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA).اضافة اعلان

It “is considered one of the most expensive airports in the world in terms of tax imposed on passengers,” he said.

This poses “a dilemma for the tourism sector”, Arabiyat said, adding that “a committee was formed with the QAIA management, which will finish its work soon and which will issue recommendations to the Council of Ministers to cancel or reduce airport taxes”.

Fly Jordan CEO Amjad Maslamani told Jordan News that the most important factor that helps revitalize tourism in any country is the low cost of accessing it.

Each passenger leaving Jordan has an extra $81 added to the ticket, SITA fee for each passenger is $5, ground services for the trip cost about $1,000, the landing fee at QAIA per flight is $300, Maslamani said, stressing that “all these costs have a direct impact on tourism in Jordan, as they lead to an increase in airline ticket prices, which weakens the movement of tourists to Jordan”.

According to Maslamani, in addition to the fees above, “air transport has a high cost, having risen by nearly 50 percent compared to neighboring countries, not to mention the cost of energy, which affects the prices of hotel rooms, the high cost of food in hotels and restaurants and the high entry fees for tourists at archaeological sites.”

“We have to address these points in order to be able to compete,” he stressed.

Mahmood Al-Awadi, owner of a travel agency, told Jordan News that high taxes have a negative impact on travelers who “are charged additional expenses”. This, he said, “weakens the tourism movement in Jordan, which, in turn, affects all sectors concerned with tourism”.

Awadi added that lowering the tax should have a positive impact on tourism, helping revive the sector and encouraging tourists to visit the Kingdom, a desirable outcome “in light of the difficult economic conditions”.

President of the Jordan Hotel Association Abdel Hakim Al-Hindi told Jordan News that “the high taxes imposed on passengers will negatively impact the hospitality industry, too” as “a person who intends to travel to a particular destination forms a general view of this destination, starting with travel tickets and overnight stays, to determine the budget before making a decision to go there”.

Hindi added that in order to promote tourism in Jordan, “we, as a hotel association, decided to decrease hotel prices, in light of the hard economic conditions, and I believe that if each entity lowers its prices, we would have reached a radical solution to revive the sector”.

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