AMMAN — The tourism sector is expected to continue recovering during 2018, according to stakeholders, who urged the concerned bodies for more efforts to better promote the Kingdom and open new markets.
Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Director Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat said that 2017 witnessed a "considerable" increase in the number of tourists according to the Central Bank of Jordan's figures.
Arabiyat said that revenues from tourism during November 2017 increased by 14.3 per cent compared with the same period of 2016.
He outlined a number of measures that contributed to increasing tourism indicators including coordinating with the relevant bodies in the fields of promotion.
The JTB also supported the plans for stimulating the charter and low-cost flights including supporting the prices of tickets.
Trip bookings to Jordan in 2018 are "promising", with fewer cancellations compared with previous years, Suleiman Abu Dalou, a tourist operator, told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.
The worst year for the Jordanian tourism sector was 2011, during which the "Arab Spring" began, while the best so far was 2017, Abu Dalu said.
Jordan Tourist Guides Association President Hasan Ababneh said that during the regional crisis, tourists gradually became aware of Jordan's security despite the turmoil in the region, which enhanced their confidence to come to Jordan, leading to a considerable increase in their numbers.
However, the relevant institutions should exert more efforts to attract more visitors, especially from far eastern countries, said the president.
In 2011, Jordan has 1,300 tourist guides who spoke 39 languages, now the number has declined to 1,000 as many guides left the job as a result of the low demand or age, said Ababneh.
"Now tourism is recovering and the sector needs more guides, especially those who speak far eastern languages such as Chinese and Indonesian," said Ababneh, calling for training of more guides to meet the demand.
Ababneh said that the JTB has made an agreement with the relevant bodies to set official guiding fees per day at JD60.
In recent remarks to The Jordan Times, Toursim Minister Lina Annab said that tourism figures in 2017 where higher than expected, adding that that the figures will keep increasing this year.
The World Trade Organisation’s figures have indicated a 4 per cent drop in tourists' numbers in the region 2017, but Jordan witnessed a hike instead, the minister said.
The number of overnight tourists until the end of November increased by 9.5 per cent, reaching 3.911 million visitors, compared to 3.574 million during the same period of last year, the ministry's figures showed.
Meanwhile, the number of one-day visitors during the first 11 months of this year increased by 6.4 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2016.
Khader Rabbaa, a tourist restaurant owner, agreed and said that in 2017 the number of his clients increased by 25 per cent.
He said that the 2018's booking are promising and include a come-back of traditional clients from Europe and the Americas.
Sadam Kinj, a tourist guide, said that he has struggled for five years but in 2017 he did an adequate number of trips.
Kinj said that the worst year was 2015, when he did one local tour in Jerash, 45km north of Ammna, each week, while in 2017; he almost did one tour every day.