Complex Made Simple

Jordan tourism revenues stable at $4 billion despite militant attacks

Jordan’s tourism sector has proved resilient with revenues stable at $4 billion in 2016 year against the previous year despite several militant attacks, the tourism minister said on Monday.

Jordan hosted last year 3.8 million foreign visitors who spent in the country at least one night, a rise of 2.6 percent from the previous year, Lina Annab told reporters.

Annab said the sector was so far able to cushion itself from the repercussions of an attack last month in the southern city of Karak, with few signs of any significant drop in tourist arrivals from the region or Europe.

“It’s business as usual and the cancellations have been minimal. Unfortunately, as for danger there is no place that is 100 percent safe,” said Annab.

More than a dozen people were killed, including a Canadian tourist, in two attacks by Islamist militants in December in the southern city of Karak. Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the violence.

Tourists exploring the ruins of ancient Petra, Jordan. Alamy Tourists exploring the ruins of ancient Petra, Jordan. (Alamy)

Three American servicemen were killed by a Jordanian guard in November. Washington issued a travel warning to Americans travelling to Jordan because of threats from militant groups, which Jordanian officials criticised as unnecessary.

Annab said her ministry was trying to offset any potential fallout by encouraging more Christian religious tourists to visit biblical sites and promoting the country as a regional hub for medical tourism.

Officials say the kingdom has drawn bigger numbers of tourists from Gulf Arab states in recent years, who have made up for the drop in package tours by European operators coming to the region due to political turmoil.

Tourism is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency and constitutes around 10 percent of the country’s GDP. Investors have poured billions of dollars in the past decade into a string of hotels across the country.