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Petra, Jordan Trail among 2018's best global destinations

400-trail gaining popularity, turning into ‘Inca Trail of the Middle East’

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Dec 18,2017 - Last updated at Dec 18,2017

Tourists walk along Jordan Trail in this undated photo (Photo courtesy of Jordan Trail)

AMMAN — Petra and the Jordan Trail are among the "best" global destinations to visit in 2018, according to international travel magazines.

National Geographic has listed the Jordan Trail among its top 21 destinations to visit in 2018

On the magazine's website, Nat Geo said that the 400-mile Jordan Trail is a newly minted hiking path linking ancient trade routes. Divided into eight separate sections, the trail leads through Jordanian forests, canyons, deserts, and along the shores of the Red Sea. Along the trail, overnight stays are  spent at guesthouses, home stays, and Bedouin campsites.

It is believed that Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed all walked this path, according to the Nat Geo.

The trail has already been billed as the "Inca Trail of the Middle East.", according to several travel guides and agencies.

For Condé Nast Traveller, they chose Petra, Jordan's top destination, to be among their best 18 places to visit next year.

The magazine said that with ongoing turbulence across the Middle East, Jordan has seen its visitors number plummet in recent years; and while the US State Department has placed a travel warning on Jordan, citing a high terror risk, similar warnings have also been issued for far more visited countries like Germany. 

However, the magazine maintains that the Kingdom remains a safe and stable enclave within the region, rich with ancient monuments that date as far back as the 4th century BC. 

Tourism Minister Lina Annab wrote on her Facebook page: “Jordan is once again listed by two of the world’s top travel magazines as one of the best destinations to visit in 2018”.

Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Director Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat told The Jordan Times on Sunday that the announcement reflects the efforts of the board in “placing Jordan on the world’s tourism map” despite the regional turmoil and the economic challenges facing the Kingdom.

He added that including the two destinations in the magazine’s index  would lead to increasing the number of tourists from across the world and enhancing their confidence in Jordan as a distinctive and safe place. 

Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) Acting President Abdulmoeen Abu Helaleh hailed the development, attributing it to “tireless” efforts of all stakeholders.

He underscored the role of the Royal Court, which organises trips to tourist attractions for presidents and heads of delegations during their visits to the Kingdom, which adds to the efforts of other institutions. 

PDTRA figures showed a “considerable” increase in the number of visitors during 2017 compared to previous years.

Since January this year, 521,000 visitors entered Petra, compared to 461,000 during all of 2016.
PDTRA said they expect the number to reach 650,000 by the end of 2017. 

 

In October, the average number of visitors per day reached 1,800, Abu Helaleh said.
“The number of tourists visiting the ancient city until November has recorded a promising increase towards the end of the year, considering that December is part of the high season during which the rose-red city is supposed to receive more visitors,” Abu Helaleh told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday.

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