Friday lockdowns add to tourism camp owners’ worries in Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is usually crowded with tourists in winter for its warmer climate


AMMAN — Tourism establishments in the south of the Kingdom are enduring losses due to the Friday lockdown, according to stakeholders.

“We experienced an uptick in domestic tourism in summer as borders were closed and the ‘golden triangle’ — composed of Wadi Rum, Aqaba and Petra’ — was among people’s most favourite destinations,” said Raed Moghrabi, a worker in a luxury camp in Wadi Rum.

Moghrabi said that ever since the Friday lockdown was implemented, activity has taken a downturn, resulting in “layoffs, salary reductions or complete closures” in some camps.

The 230 camps inside and outside the Rum Nature Reserve are of various classifications tailored to the financial capabilities of tourists, Osama Abu Talib, a camp owner, told The Jordan Times.

“The comprehensive lockdown on Friday has resulted in huge financial losses for us, as restrictions on people’s movement especially on a day such as Friday that is some people’s only day off, has brought tourist camps to a halt,” he added.

Abu Talib said that Wadi Rum is usually crowded with tourists in winter for its warmer climate.

“However, with the lockdown, we are receiving fewer reservations than we did in summer — an unprecedented incident in all our years of business,” he said.

Moghrabi said that while “luxury camps owned by companies or owners who have multiple projects might take a hit or two in revenue, small businesses are the ones who are facing the threat of shutting down”.

“Some owners we know had put their whole life savings in their camps after last year yielded big revenues for the few camps that were established. This year, however, has left the owners with no profit and even loans,” he added.

Abu Talib noted that if the Friday lockdown is lifted, “citizens might be encouraged to come down for one to three days as they are no longer constrained by a lockdown in the middle of their weekend. Moreover, the number of Covid-19 cases is declining, so we hope this be another encouraging factor”.

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