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‘Amman tourist eateries see revenue spike, but sector suffers outside capital’

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Aug 06,2016 - Last updated at Aug 06,2016

There are some 940 restaurants targeting tourists in Jordan, around 85 per cent of which are located in Amman (Photo courtesy of Ward Restaurant)

AMMAN — Tourist restaurants in the capital are witnessing a boom in business as expatriates return for the summer, but outside Amman, the sector is suffering, according to the Jordan Restaurants Association (JRA). 

There are some 940 restaurants targeting tourists in Jordan, around 85 per cent of which are located in Amman, said JRA General Manager Eliana Janineh. 

Outside the capital, restaurants are suffering from declining tourist numbers, Janineh said, explaining that revenues had dropped by 20 to 30 per cent in restaurants aimed at tourists.  

“The movement of tourists has seriously dropped in the Kingdom in the last few years due to the regional political situation, which also affected the restaurants that depend on foreign tourists,” she told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

“Amman’s restaurants were not affected as they depend on local customers,” she added.

Despite a recent Cabinet decision approving tax exemptions to the tourism sector, including some tourist restaurants, the industry still faces legislative obstacles, according to Janineh. 

She noted that the exemptions only apply to tourist restaurants outside Amman, and called on the government to extend the exemptions to restaurants that cater to tourists in the capital. 

Restaurants face high operating costs, including large water and electricity bills, the JRA official said, adding that some regulations also present challenges.  

In addition, the industry suffers from a lack of trained or specialised staff, such as waiters, cooks and kitchen employees, Janineh noted, adding that recent government measures to stop the recruitment of foreign workers had exacerbated the problem. 

“We are scheduled to hold a meeting with the labour minister to discuss this issue,” she said. 

Asked about the prices charged at tourist restaurants, Janineh said they are high compared to neighbouring countries because of the high taxes and restaurant licensing fees in the Kingdom.  

 

The JRA works to improve the tourist restaurant industry in line with the National Tourism Strategy, which aims at building sustainable tourism and enhancing the sector, she added.

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