Jordan’s tourism sector is celebrating more record numbers as vital statistics showed remarkable increases in visitor numbers and spending by the end of the 3rd quarter.
Central Bank and Ministry of Tourism statistics have shown that the number overnight tourists who have visited Jordan between January and September have reached 3.56 million people, a 23.4% increase over the same period in 2009. Tourism receipts for the same period reached 1.88 billion Jordanian Dinars ($2.65 billion), a rise of more than 20% over 2009.
Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) managing director Nayef al-Fayez described the released figures as yet another landmark in Jordanian tourism. He said the numbers have – by far – outperformed 2008, which was the best tourism year ever in Jordan.
Mr. al-Fayez paid tribute to Jordan’s unique offerings as a diverse tourist destination and said that it was the main driver behind the kingdom’s success in avoiding the negative impact of the global economic crisis in 2009.
He said JTB saw two main threats to tourism growth: declining traveler numbers and spending as a result of the global economic crisis, and the unexpected cut in the board’s budget. “However,” Mr. al-Fayez added, “it was a challenge that we had to face with a great deal of planning and operational flexibility and with tremendous support from the Jordan’s solid reputation as a unique tourist destination.”
The JTB managing director also paid tribute to Jordan’s tourism sector, whose strength he said was a main driver behind overcoming the global downturn. “Today, we are thrilled to see this pay off with more success and more growth,” he concluded.
The released 3rd quarter figures have shown an across-the-board visitor number increase from all regions and countries. Asia took the lion’s share in terms of percentage rise with South Asia going up 39.8% and East Asia and the Pacific going up 25.4%. However, Arab countries brought in the most visitor numbers totaling 1.7 million.
The rise in European tourists was also impressive, with a total of more than 532 thousand. French tourists came first with almost 61,000 people (a rise of 67.5% over 2009), British tourists were second with 52,000 (24.5%), Italian tourists were third with 43,320 (36.6%), German tourists were fourth with 36,850 (26.2%), and Spanish tourists were fifth with 33,300 (59.7%).
Overnight visitors from the USA totaled 125,424 people representing more than a 5% increase over the 3rd quarter of 2009, while Canadians totaled more than 16,000 people, a rise of almost 19%.
World Wonder Petra remained the jewel in the crown of Jordan’s touristic sites attracting more than 670,000 visitors in the first 9 months of 2010, a rise of 30%. Wadi Rum saw the largest growth in numbers with a jump of 63.6% to more than 189,300 people.
290,700 people visited Jerash (a rise of 23%), while 281,500 people visited Mount Nebo (a rise of 42%). Most of the people who visited Mount Nebo made their way to see Madaba’s map. They totaled 267,120 people (a rise of 48.4%).
The Baptism site, which constitutes the start of the pilgrimage trail, witnessed a 20% increase in the number of visitors and pilgrims and is expected to rise further as Christmas celebrations near.
The announcement of the new tourism figures came as the Jordan Tourism Board’s General Assembly approved its marketing plans for 2011, which also provided an overview of the board’s strategy to boost tourism.
The plans were drawn after careful analysis of international tourism trends in the various markets in which it operates. They set a number of priority actions, which included the niche positioning of Jordan, utilizing information technology to reach target audiences, and to build equity into Jordan’s image.
The Jordan Tourism Board had earlier said it was exploring new markets including China, Japan, and Brazil to build on the successes of the past few years. It said it was working to minimize – if not end – the seasonal patterns of tourist arrivals and establish Jordan as an all-year-round destination.