Amman Apart

Top 3: Travel in Jordan in 2018

Why is Jordan's tourism sector excelling in 2018?

In no small part thanks to the country’s unique attractions and the culture of Arabic hospitality, Jordan’s tourism sector is doing exceptionally well in 2018.

Investment in tourism is now bearing fruit.

Often described as an oasis of stability in a region which has always had its fair share of trouble, Jordan is these days truly “the envy of less happy lands.”

The country has made a name for itself as a Middle Eastern tourist destination, and its economy is faring well.
Indeed, Jordan has been visited by westerners with itchy feet as early as the 1930s, with the country repeatedly featuring in European literature and film as a travel destination.

Fate has taken both Agatha Christie’s hero, Hercule Poirot, and Indiana Jones to Jordan, among many other fictional characters.

Despite many ups and downs over the years, Jordan’s tourism industry is still going strong. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), Jordan’s tourism industry generated over USD2 billion in 2017, and the figure is expected to rise by approximately 9% for 2018.

This could lead the WTTC to rank Jordan in the number one position in the world in terms of direct contribution of tourism to employment, and fourth in terms of contribution of the sector to GDP.

On top of that, we have good reasons to believe that this period of growth will not be short-lived. It is estimated that tourism in Jordan will continue to enjoy steady growth—at least for the decade ahead—and generate approximately USD3.6 billion for the Kingdom’s economy by 2028.

Here are three reasons why Jordanian tourism is likely to flourish in the coming years.

1: A wealth of historical sites

King Hussein I of Jordan once observed, “Jordan has a strange haunting beauty and a sense of timelessness. Dotted with the ruins of empires once great, it is the last resort of yesterday in the world of tomorrow.”

Indeed, Jordan is home to an incredible set of historical monuments and archaeological sites dating back to the bronze age, the classical roman era, the Byzantine times, the Islamic period, and Ottoman rule.

Perhaps the city of Petra and Amman’s Citadel are the most iconic of the lot, but Jordan has many more must-sees including medieval mosques and churches, the Jordanian Archaeological Museum, and the Ain Ghazal village, located near Amman.

Statistics indicate that the world’s interest in cultural tourism is on the rise and the Kingdom’s wealth of historical venues will guarantee it a growing a number of visitors for the foreseeable future.

2: Climate and lifestyle

With long summers and a climate ranging from Mediterranean to arid, Jordan is an ideal place for many western holidaymakers to soak up some sun. Aqaba, the country’s only port city on the coast of the Red Sea, has been attracting more and more visitors since early 2000s, and is now regarded as part of Jordan’s golden triangle of tourism, along with Petra and Wadi Rum.

Although the country’s culture is conservative in certain respects, there is enough tolerance to permit a vibrant nightlife in Amman, the capital city, and increasingly in Aqaba. To keep up with the influx of tourists, more high-end night clubs, bars, and hotels are opening up, generating revenue for the locals.

3: Well-developed infrastructure and planning

Jordan’s historical and natural splendors are matched by modern and reliable infrastructure. The country’s economic boom of 1999-2008 resulted in the further modernization of the country and gave it a new look.

At the same time, Jordan Tourism Development Projects I and II, which ran from 2005 to 2013 and costed over USD45.5 million, along with multiple other domestic and foreign investments enhanced Jordan’s capacity and readiness for serving foreign tourists in a manner that does not fall short of anyone’s expectations.

The construction of a state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal in Aqaba, as part of the USD10-billion Marsa Zayed project, and the expansion of Queen Alia International Airport, which costed USD700 million in 2013, are just two among many similar initiatives which are expected to result in the growth of Jordan’s tourism industry.

The majority of the over 16 million passengers that the renovated airport is now capable of handling will be tourists from the region, or from the US, the UK, Europe, and India.