20 September 2016Plans include installing aerial tramway, building convention centre, hotel and retail outlets
Amman - The northern governorate of Ajloun is set to attract two major tourist projects in the coming years as the Jordan Development Zones Company (JDZ) announced it is preparing tenders.
JDZ Director General Hamza Haj Hassan told The Jordan Times on Monday that the company will float the tenders for the JD58 million projects before the end of the year, adding that one of the projects will be an aerial tramway connecting Sowan area with Ajloun Castle over 3 kilometres.
The sky tram, Haj Hassan said, will be financed by the JDZ at a cost of nearly JD8 million and is expected to be ready by 2018.
The other JD50-million project entails building a convention centre, a 300-room hotel and retail outlets for cafes and restaurants on an area of 142 dunums, he added, indicating that the size of the construction area will be around 50,000 -- 60,000 square metres.
Haj Hassan said another 125 dunums in a forestry area will be allocated for chalets, but stressed that the construction will only cover a small percentage of the area in order to protect the trees.
He noted that the projects in Ajloun, which is some 70km northwest of Amman, would create job opportunities for around 1,000 residents.
The governorate has a population of 176,080, according to the 2015 census.
Residents of Ajloun commented on the news in phone interviews with The Jordan Times.
Ali Qudah said the government should have thought of such projects in the green governorate years ago, but described the JDZ's announcement as "very good news".
"Ajloun is one of the most beautiful places in Jordan. It is covered by trees and its weather is always nice," he said.
Tahseen Smadi also welcomed the announcement, but cautiously.
"It is good to hear that, but I'm afraid the project might not materialise as some other development plans have been shelved in the past," he added.
In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Tohama Nabulsi, media and communications director at the Jordan Tourism Board, said that the lack of services, such as hotels and five-star restaurants in areas like Ajloun and other northern sites were among the main factors why tourists, particularly Arab visitors, preferred to remain in Amman.
© Jordan Times 2016