‘Urdunna Jannah’: A beacon of post-pandemic recovery for Kingdom’s domestic tourism

Around 190 travel agencies have thus far taken part in the “Urdun Jannah” program
Around 190 travel agencies have thus far taken part in the “Urdunna Jannah” program; launched by the Tourism Ministry to aid the recovery of domestic tourism in Jordan. (Photo: Zoe Sottile/Jordan News)
AMMAN – A month following the launch of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities’ “Urdunna Jannah” program, stakeholders have commended the initiative’s role in countering the pandemic’s impact on the sector. اضافة اعلان

 “The program has revived domestic tourism in Jordan as travel agencies have resumed operations,” Nizar Stetieh, chairman of the temporary committee on the Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents, told Jordan News over the phone.

“The (number of) travel agencies participating in ‘Urdunna Jannah’ stacks up to 190, with different levels of engagement in the program,” Stetieh added.

The number of hotel facilities and tourist camps contributing in the program has reached some 120, while that of hotel facilities based in Aqaba stood at around 25, according to Stetieh.

“The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) sponsor all the trips organized by the program by covering some 50 percent of each trip’s total cost,” he said.

“The program offers day and overnight trips. Day trips often head for the north, targeting Umm Qais, Jerash, and Ajloun,” said Stetieh, adding: “These trips cost JD10 including transportation, tour guide and lunch.”

“On the other hand, overnight trips go toward the south, namely Wadi Mousa, Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba. The trip fees start from JD15 and cover transportation, tour guide and breakfast. Sometimes dinner is offered,” he added.

“Recently, ‘Urdunna Jannah’ has started to arrange trips that extend to three days, with one night in Petra and another in Aqaba or Wadi Rum,” Stetieh said.

Krayem Al-Hashem, the general manager of the Tourism Transport Association, said that the program has had a “positive impact” on transport companies, recounting that their activities had been interrupted for about a year and a half since the outbreak of COVID in March 2020.

“Three-hundred large buses, owned by 15 tourism transport companies, are used to serve this initiative throughout the Kingdom,” he explained.

Hashem said that these buses operate at 75 percent capacity, carrying a minimum of 20 passengers for a maximum of 37 per vehicle. He stressed that the buses are sterilized after each trip to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Raed Salim, a tour guide on the program, told Jordan News that working with “Urdunna Jannah” is a “new and different experience” for him and his peers across the Kingdom.

“Although earnings are low, something is better than nothing,” Salim said.

Mohammad Hammad, chairman of the temporary committee of the Jordan Tour Guides Association, said in a phone interview with Jordan News that “Urdunna Jannah” came to revitalize the tourism sector following the onset of the pandemic, including travel agencies, restaurants and guides.

Hammad noted that the number of tourist guides joining the program has amounted to around 1,000, whom he described as “ambassadors of the country”.

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