Tourist numbers up in Petra, sector workers say ‘not enough’

1. Petra Tourism
A photo of the Treasury in Petra as seen from the Siq, taken on August 4, 2013. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
AMMAN — Resumption of tourism activity in the city of Petra has seen high demand for hotel rooms in the city, as hotel occupancy rate went up to 60 percent, which saw the return to work of about 500 tourism sectors workers, after the reopening of 20 hotels out of 45 that had been closed due to the pandemic last year.اضافة اعلان

However, the tourism situation in the Kingdom is still worrying some workers in the tourism sector despite the improvement witnessed recently with the ease of COVID-19 restrictions.

Yaser Abdo, who owns a travel agency, 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 the (virus) because of the wrong rumours they hear,” Abdo said.

He advises people to be more courageous and know that travelling, whether inside or outside Jordan, is safe due to the high standard health protocols the government has put in place.

“I cannot say that the situation is as its best, but, it is better than how it was at the beginning of the pandemic,” Abdo said, “we pray that the coming months may be even better because the sector cannot bear any more losses.”

Daoud Samaan, a tour guide in Petra and Wadi Rum, said that there is a very slow and weak improvement in the tourism sector.

“This improvement will not help us compensate the losses that we experienced throughout the pandemic. The government should help and support the tourism sector," Samaan said.

He said that many of those who work in the tourism sector have gone broke. “They will not be able to make money again unless they see a great improve in the sector,” Samaan said.

Governmental entities have a different view. “We expect that in October, the tourism sector will witness a significant breakthrough and growth,” said Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat, director general of the Tourism Promotion Authority, in remarks to Jordan News.

“Jordan is one of the most desirable and preferred destinations for tourists” Arabiyat said. “That is why I can say that I am optimistic that the coming days will be better for the tourism sectors."

The head of the Petra Regional Authority, Suleiman Al-Farajat, in comments to local media, said: “There are positive and good indicators related to the return of tourism activity to Petra, as we started receiving about 350 foreign tourists daily since the middle of this month.”

Farajat expected the number of visitors to reach more than 500 tourists per day at the beginning of October, which is the beginning of the peak tourist season, and this gives a good indication that the sector is beginning to recover.

“If the number of tourists begins to rise, even if it is a small increase, this is promising, and clearly indicates the gradual return of tourism activity to the city. The tourism market in the Kingdom will open strongly soon,” Farajat said.

He added that over 61,000 visitors of all nationalities, including Jordanians, have visited Petra since the beginning of the year, compared to around 252,700 last year. This is despite the circumstances related to the pandemic, and despite the health restrictions in place, he said.

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