Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Hmeidi Al-Fayez is on a mission: to tell the world that his country is more than ever back on the tourism scene.
“We have been ready to receive people since the middle of this year,” said the Minister. “People started coming back. We have been opening gradually but we were fully open by the end of September. Everything was back to normal… the new normal, because there’s no old normal anymore.”
The message for travellers in general is that Jordan is “back in business”.
Jordan is promoting the great outdoors, highlighting wellness as a draw-card, thanks to the world’s greatest natural spa, the Dead Sea, offering natural mud and mineral treatments.
Great news this year also came from UNESCO with the world heritage listing of the city of As-Salt.
“This is very important, because As-Salt is the first city that has been listed on the world heritage list in Jordan,” said the Minister. “Other places were just sites, but this is the first liveable city that has been inscribed on the world heritage list in Jordan.
“As-Salt has a lot to offer. It’s not only offering the beauty of the city, but also the culture of Jordan, so it’s very important for us, and this is something we are proud of.”
While Jordan’s air capacity was impacted, just like everywhere else, during the Covid crisis, the country now has new airlines adding routes. In addition to Ryan Air and EasyJet that have started flying again, Wizz Air has announced flights – the first time the company is flying to Jordan.
During a press conference held on Sunday October 3rd, the conclusion of a new agreement between the Kingdom and the international low-cost airline Wizz Air was announced, with the airline planing to operate eight new routes into and from the Kingdom.
Flights will come from Budapest, Rome, Milan and Vienna into Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). Meanwhile, four seasonal routes will serve to Aqaba’s King Hussein International Airport (KHIA) – from Budapest, Bucharest, Vienna and Rome.
The government is also reported to be working on new routes with regular carriers.
In order to encourage charter flights, Jordan this summer announced a subsidy of around €60 for any passenger staying longer than a week. It’s part of Jordan’s plan to not only increase passenger numbers, but also to increase length of stays.
The Government is actively working on the promotion of Jordan’s unique variety of landscapes and cultures as a key selling point. “The beauty of Jordan is that it is a small country, but it’s diversity is huge,” said the Minister. “Sometimes, you will not find this level of diversity even within a continent, so finding it in a small country like this is an advantage.
“We don’t want travellers just to come to see beautiful Petra, and to come and see the thousands of archaeological sites. We want them to experience all the different aspects, especially nature. After we’ve been locked down for a year and a half, people want to enjoy nature.”
Local receptives are increasingly promoting the “Jordan Trail” that leads all the way from north to south in the country, along with wellness and leisure tourism.
The most recent attraction to be launched is the Hot air balloon festival, bringing new dynamic to Jordan’s “golden triangle”.
The hot air balloon festival in Wadi Rum is the first five-day event of its kind – held early October, and breathing “fresh air” into the Kingdom’s tourism economy. It began with the balloons launching from the desert at sunrise and lining the sky – a sight described as “mesmerising”.
The annual event will doubtless attract growing crowds in years to come.
Just another reason for travellers to stay a little longer and enjoy the variety offered by the Kingdom of Jordan.
Photo – top of page – by SPENCER DAVIS / Unsplash