15% more tourists visit Baptism Site in February than in January

Visitors at the Baptism Site in an undated photo. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Some 5,500 tourists visited the Baptism Site in February, marking a 15 percent increase over the month of January, when 4,700 tourists visited, according to the Baptism Site Commission’s Director Rustom Mkhjian who said that the increase, registered during the low tourist season, is proof of the importance of the site to world tourism.اضافة اعلان

Mkhjian told Jordan News that the increase is also due to the efforts of the concerned authorities, including the commission, the Ministry of Tourism, the Jordan Tourism Board, in partnership with the private sector, including tourism offices and airlines.

He said “the continuous cooperation of partners in the tourism sector has resulted in the visit of tourist groups from Spain, France, Romania, and India, and the increase in the number of visitors from the US. If these efforts continue, the number of tourists may be expected to increase even more in the coming months”.

Mkhjian attributes the increase in the number of tourists to “the government’s measures to maintain safety from the COVID-19 pandemic and the stability of the epidemiological situation” as well, which “had a significant impact on the arrival of foreign tourists”.

He emphasized that “this number is considered acceptable if compared to the number of tourists last year, especially in light of the COVID-19 waves that hit the entire world and greatly affected the tourism sector”.

Mkhjian believes that the start of the tourist season in the middle of this month will witness a significant increase in the number of visitors, especially in light of the recent government decision to ease the pandemic-imposed restrictions.

“The constant efforts of the concerned authorities to promote Jordan’s religious sites in the world will have an impact on religious tourism, which is bound to witness growth,” he said.

“We continue to maintain and improve the site facilities, in order to serve pilgrims and visitors, and to maintain and restore archaeological sites throughout the year, especially in light of the positive indicators, which are a drive for us to work with team spirit to reach our goals, and to help the economy, on the one hand, and highlight the great messages of the site, on the other,” Mkhjian added.

The director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media, Father Rifat Bader, told Jordan News that religious tourism is a mainstay of tourism in Jordan.

“During the COVID-19 period, there were modest numbers of visitors, but the concerned authorities have made plans to receive tourists again when this pandemic ends, and this rise in the number of tourists is really promising and indicates that the plans will work and that we will witness an increase in the number of visitors in the next months.”

He said there is “great hope that we will receive huge numbers of pilgrims from Italy and France when this epidemic ends”, but “this requires great cooperation from all sides, especially citizens, who must contribute with us to raising the number of tourists by following the preventive measures so that COVID-19 cases do not rise again and so that Jordan remains a safe haven for tourists”.

According to Bader, the number of tourists is expected to grow during the Easter period as well, “and we hope the citizens will visit the Baptism Site to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and be blessed by the waters of the Jordan River, and even prepare the atmosphere for all tourists around the world to visit it”.

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