‘TAG Knowledge Forum’ Hosts (Mr. Arabiyat, Tourism Director General’
AMMAN – Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum (TAG-KF) hosted Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of Jordan Tourism Board (JTB), in a virtual session entitled ‘Tourism and Recovery Process’ through live streaming on the Forum’s Facebook page.
During the meeting, Dr. Arabiyat reviewed a set of measures that have been recently announced by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to support the most affected sectors in the tourism industry from the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Such measures included, according to Arabiyat, direct and indirect injection liquidity into the sector that reached up to JD190 million by supporting soft loans, stimulating domestic tourism by reducing direct taxes in addition to supporting the various components of tourism activities.
JTB Managing Directors added that the measures included the support of domestic tourist programs and most notably ‘Urdunna Jannah’ by supporting national airlines such as the Royal Jordanian, Fly Jordan, Jordan Aviation and allocating JD1 million to arrange daily flights throughout the week between Amman and Aqaba.
It is worth mentioning that Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities launched last year Urdunna Jannah program in cooperation the JTB offering 40% discounts on the cost of food, drink and accommodation in addition to free transportation using modern tourist buses which helped raise the number of visitors in the first phase to 80,000 citizens.
Furthermore, Arabiyat stated that providers of tourist services in ‘Urdunna Jannah’ program in the governorates will receive financial support up to JD 1 million and 200.000 to encourage sales, increase income of those providers in local communities from small and medium institutions based on tourism activities, in addition to supporting hotels and tourist camps in Petra and a similar process would be followed to support hotels in other tourist areas.
Arabiyat shared statistics relevant to tourism sector in 2019 and before coronavirus crisis, pointing out that the tourism revenues last year reached $5.8 billion, up by 10.2% compared to the previous year according to Jordan Central Bank. He also noted that the Kingdom registered an increase in the number of tourists in the past year by 9% to reach 5.4 million visitors compared to 4.9 million visitors in 2018.
Additionally, he pointed out that most popular tourist and archaeological destinations last year was Petra which received an unprecedented increase in the number of visitors up to 1.135 million visitors, Mount Nebo received 670,000 visitors, the Madaba Mosaic Map 467,000 visitors, Jerash City 475,000 visitors, Wadi Rum 364,000 visitors, the Baptism Site 183,000 visitors and Karak Governorate 49,000 visitors.
Arabiyat concluded that the government offered an array of incentives and customs duty exemptions on production inputs to stimulate investments in the tourism sector, increase competitiveness and reduce expenditures, not to mention, that the government facilitated the entry of restricted nationalities into the Kingdom, and what is more; the Ministry of Tourism launched an electronic ‘Unified Entry Ticket’ (Jordan Pass) whose sales exceeded 247,000 tickets last year. Jordan Pass gives its holders the ability to make the most out of their trip visiting top sights and attractions while saving time, money, and stress.
For his part, Mr. Fadi Daoud, Executive Director of TAG-KF and Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global (TAG.Global) Education and Youth Consultant, who moderated the session, pointed out that the digital virtual session with Dr. Arabiyat was organized as part of a series of digital meetings and talks in the time of Coronavirus.