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‘97 per cent increase in Wadi Rum visitors, 13 per cent for Aqaba’

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jan 29,2018 - Last updated at Jan 29,2018

The number of tourists who visited the Wadi Rum desert in 2017 increased by 97 per cent compared with the previous year (File photo)

AMMAN — The number of tourists who stayed at Aqaba hotels reached 640,000 in 2017 compared to 567,000 the year before, marking a 13 per cent increase, an official said.

In Wadi Rum, the number jumped from 82,000 in 2016 to 162,000 last year, recording a hike of 97 per cent, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Chief Commissioner Nasser Shraideh told The Jordan Times on Monday.

The hotel occupancy also increased from 48.8 to 60.1 per cent, with a length of stay going from 2.2 to 3.94 nights, Shraideh said, adding that the number of occupied hotel rooms went from 4,000 in 2016 to 4,600 in 2017.

The chief commissioner said that the increase in tourists' numbers came after a series of promotional measures taken by ASEZA in cooperation with partners in the tourism field. 

As part of its strategy to host 1 million tourists until 2020, ASEZA has floated a tender for travel agencies to attract tourists from untraditional markets, Shraideh said, noting that the authority also floated another tender for airlines to operate regular bi-weekly flights from Aqaba to several countries.

He said that the third Aqaba Carnival is scheduled to kick off on February 1, featuring several events and attractive discounts over one month at 157 hospitality, tourism, and entertainment facilities.

In recent remarks to The Jordan Times, spokesperson of the state-run Aqaba Development Corporation Khalil Farrayeh said that the carnival is a winter promotional campaign that includes shows, activities and discounts at most of Aqaba's facilities.


During the one-month-long carnival, the two-way plane ticket from Amman to Aqaba will be JD10 on the Royal Jordanian Airlines, for those who provide a hotel booking confirmation, according to the spokesperson. 

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