Industry sector

Omicron ‘shakes up’ Jordan’s tourism industry — industry representative

The overall situation for the Kingdom’s tourism sector has “deteriorated considerably” since November with the emergence of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to an industry representative.

“The Omicron variant has shaken up the tourism industry in Jordan. It is a sector that has almost collapsed,” Deputy Director of the Jordanian Society of Tourism and Travel Agents (JSTA), Fadi Abu Arish, told The Jordan Times on Thursday.

He also pointed out that the government’s travel policies and regulations, such as carrying out PCR tests for air travelers upon arrival, have had a negative impact on tourism activity in Jordan.

Arrivals to Jordan must present a negative COVID-19 PCR result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in the Kingdom. Then, a second PCR test is required from air travelers upon arrival.

“Requiring another PCR from air travelers upon arrival is a major challenge for us,” he said.

“A week ago, we met with the Minister of Tourism and other relevant stakeholders, to request exemptions for our sector,” he noted.

Throughout last September and October, things had barely started to improve, but then things got worse from the beginning of November.

“The sector needs real government support,” he added.

Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) Deputy Director Awni Kawar told The Jordan Times on Sunday that the first tourist season in Jordan begins in March and ends in May.

“If the epidemiological situation remains the same and the Kingdom remains a red zone for many countries where most potential tourists come from, the season would be destroyed,” he added.

“We all hope things get better,” he said.

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