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January 20 2022 3:29 PM ˚
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Aqaba hotel sector to reassess following Saudi decision to allow direct entry

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A general view of the port city of Aqaba, 332km south of Amman, on November 16, 2016. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
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AMMAN — The Saudi decision to resume direct entry across its borders will affect transit tourism in Aqaba and reduce the number of guests at the city’s hotels, stakeholders said on Saturday.اضافة اعلان

Saudi Arabia used to require nationals of certain states to spend 14 days in another country before entering. Among these were Egyptians, who used to stay in Aqaba for two weeks.

On Thursday, the Saudi interior ministry announced the cancellation of the requirement and allowed direct entry as of December 1.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, Ahmad Rifae told Jordan News that this type of tourism was always going to be a temporary phenomenon, and that hoteliers and landlords did not rely on it as a main source of income.
The ministry will hold a meeting with stakeholders and discuss the impacts of the decision and measures to address it, Rifae said.

Abdulhakim Hindi, president of Jordan Hotel Association said that the decision will have a negative impact on the hotels and rent apartments in Aqaba as they have been benefiting from the transit tourism.

The initial Saudi decision raised the occupancy rates and helped accommodation operators compensate their losses and keep their staff on during the tourism crisis caused by COVID-19, Hindi said.

Aqaba, 332km south of Amman, has received around 20,000 Egyptians during the implementation of the Saudi policy, Deputy Chairman of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone’s Board of Commissioners Sharhabeel Madi said.
The procedure has contributed to increasing the period of stay of Egyptians in Aqaba and increasing the tourism movement in the city of Aqaba.

Discussions around ending the policy have been ongoing in Saudi Arabia for a month as part of its measures to reopen the country, Madi said, adding that the decision did help the Aqaba hotel sector in economically recovering from COVID-19.

The countries whose nationals Saudi Arabia required to spend 14 days in a third country before entry included Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, and India, according to the Saudi interior ministry.

People coming from those countries will now be able to enter Saudi Arabia directly, the statement added.

Aqaba, Jordan’s only port city, is part of the Golden Triangle (which comprises Aqaba, Petra, and Wadi Rum) that receive hundreds of thousands of local and international visitors annually.

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