07 March 2016
AMMAN -- The Kingdom's tourism revenues dropped JD220 million in 2015, which, according to an official, was mainly due to regional instability.
Official figures on the Tourism Ministry's website showed that tourism receipts went down from JD3.1 billion in 2014 to JD2.88 billion last year, a 7.1 per cent decline, as the Kingdom saw a drop in the number of overnight tourists by over 226,000, from 3.98 million to 3.76 million.
The figures also revealed that same day visitors to the Kingdom went down from 1.3 million to around 1 million.
The overall number of visitors in 2015 -- overnight and same day -- was 4.8 million, while in 2014 it was 5.3 million.
As tourism receipts dropped, Jordanians' external expenditure -- on tourism, medication and education -- increased by 1.6 per cent in 2015 to JD823 million, from JD810 million the year before, the figures showed.
Tohama Nabulsi, media and communications director at the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), blamed regional troubles for the drop in the number of tourists despite attempts to promote the Kingdom as a secure and stable country.
"Foreign tourists, especially Europeans, look at the entire region as troubled. We try very hard to change this perception by trying to convince them Jordan is a safe and calm country, but they still believe it is not the right time to visit," she added.
Citing the JTB's promotion campaigns in France, Germany and Britain -- under which advertisements featuring key tourist attractions in the Kingdom are placed on taxis, buses and trains -- Nabulsi said 2015 could have been worse without the promotional campaigns authorities carried out.
One of the reasons the number of tourists declined, the JTB official said, is that many European tourists used to come to the Kingdom as part of package tours that included Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
For 2016, Nabulsi said the JTB will launch intensive campaigns targeting Arab tourists, particularly from the Gulf, as "they understand the region well", adding that the promotion campaigns will be on TV channels and at shopping malls.
"What we will do is encourage Arab tourists to go outside Amman to see historical and natural attractions across the country," she noted.
The lack of services, such as hotels and five-star restaurants in areas such as Ajloun and other northern sites are among the main factors why Arab visitors prefer to remain in Amman.
The ministry's figures showed that visitors from Saudi Arabia topped the list of tourists to the Kingdom in 2015, despite a 16.4 per cent drop over the year before.
In 2015, over 883,000 visitors came to Jordan from Saudi Arabia as overnight tourists and same day visitors, while in 2014 their number was over 1 million, the figures showed.
Visitors from Arab countries, according to the ministry, were around 2.5 million last year, down from 2.9 million
Visitors from European countries went down by 20.5 per cent, last year to 510,000 from 642,000, according to the figures, which showed that the number of visitors from the US increased, reaching over 161,000 compared to around 160,000 in 2014.
The number of tourists from China also saw an increase of around 16 per cent last year, to over 23,000 from around 20,000 the year before.
Around 234,000 Asian visitors came to Jordan last year, 16 per cent lower than the 279,000 visitors in 2014, the data indicated.
Tourism in 2015
-2.5 million Arab tourists visited Jordan last year, down from 2.9 million in 2014
-883,000 visitors came from Saudi Arabia, compared with over 1 million in 2014
- Visitors from European countries went down by 20.5%, to 510,000 in 2015, compared with 642,000 the year before
-Number of US visitors increased, reaching over 161,000 compared to 160,000 in 2014
-Around 234,000 Asian visitors came to Jordan in 2015, 16% lower than the 279,000 visitors in 2014
-Tourists from China saw around a 16% increase to over 23,000 from around 20,000 the year before
Source: Tourism Ministry
© Jordan Times 2016