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Urgent plan in the works to ‘salvage’ tourism sector — minister

By JT - Mar 29,2015 - Last updated at Mar 29,2015

AMMAN – Stakeholders will draw up an urgent marketing plan to “salvage” the Kingdom’s tourism industry by promoting national tourist products in new and traditional markets worldwide, Tourism Minister Nayef Al Fayez said Sunday. 

Fayez made his remarks at a meeting on Sunday with representatives of the sector to review their recommendations to improve tourism, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The number of Arab tourists has not been affected by the regional turmoil, Fayez said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times, but the number of visitors to archaeological sites has recently dropped and those who visit these sites are mostly non-Arabs.

The number of Petra visitors dropped by 50 per cent since the start of this year compared to the same period of 2014, according to Petra. 

Fayez noted that the plan will include a series of incentives and measures related to taxes imposed on the sector and entry fees, in additions to organising more attractive cultural activities.

Participants at the meeting endorsed the recommendations proposed by sector leaders, which will now be referred to the Cabinet for approval.

The proposals include reducing Petra entry fees for tourists who stay overnight in the rose-red city.

Another recommendation is to use Amman Civil Airport in Marka for charter flights that transport tourists to Jordan.

The suggested measures are part of efforts to encourage more foreign tourists to visit the Kingdom and promote the country as a safe destination, according to Fayez.

Also on Sunday, the Lower House’s Tourism Committee held a meeting to discuss tourism in Petra.

Speaking at the meeting, Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority Chief Commissioner Mohammad Nawafleh said the ancient Nabataean city is going through “a crisis” due to regional turmoil, calling for coming up with radical solutions to help hotels in the city.

A number of Petra hotels, Nawafleh said, have had to lay off employees because they could not afford to pay their salaries due to the drop in visitors, Petra reported.

Jordan is planning to promote Petra, Aqaba and Wadi Rum to football fans watching UEFA Champions League matches.

The stadium advertisements, which will appear during the matches of the league’s quarter-finals onwards, will show Europeans promotional material of tourism sites in Jordan for the first time, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Chief Commissioner Hani Mulki said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times.

Mulki highlighted that the project, which costs around £10,000 (around JD10,518) per match, is implemented in partnership with several hotels and businesses, as well as Aqaba’s King Hussein International Airport.

If the promotion proves successful, the same method may be applied in Arab and Asian football leagues, the former minister said.

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