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Jordan plans to cash in on huge inflow of tourists




February 27, 2007

Enthused by the kingdom’s ability to attract a large number of Japanese tourists to the country without prior marketing efforts, Jordan is exploring the possibilities of investing in the tourism business.

According to official figures, the number of Japanese tourists to Jordan more than doubled since 2003.

In all, 4,419 Japanese tourists visited Jordan in 2003, the number rising to 5,287 in 2004, 6,667 in 2005, and 10,225 in 2006.

“The fact that Jordan attracts thousands of Japanese tourists in the country each year without prior marketing in place is, in itself, a positive indicator on the potential of investing in that market,” Jordan’s Tourism Board (JTB) managing director Mazen Homoud said.

“These figures, which we consider adequate, coupled with the findings of our recent market research in Japan has encouraged us further to move in that direction,” he said.

The JTB is also was considering establishing a branch office in Japan in the near future.

Japanese tourists, who constitute overnight visitors, toured main sites around Jordan, such as Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash, Um Qais, Karak, Ajloun, and the Baptism Site.

Available figures show that nearly 2,000 Japanese tourists visited Wadi Rum during the first 10 months of 2006, an increase of about 3% over the same period in 2005.

Jerash attracted around 3,000 Japanese visitors in the same period, though it was an 11% drop compared to the first 10 months of 2005.

In 2006, 4,626 Japanese tourists visited Petra, a drop of 25% from the previous year, while Madaba attracted 2,516 – compared to 3,213 the previous year.

The drop in arrivals was part of an overall decrease in arrivals in 21006 as a result of the ongoing instability in the region.

According to the JTB’s recent market research, a majority of Japan’s population of 127 million is inclined towards travel.

Statistics showed that over 17 million Japanese people went abroad in 2005 – 64% of them for tourism purposes.

Though a majority of outbound tourism from Japan visited destinations in East Asia and North America, studies showed a positive flow of travellers to Europe and the Middle East, especially Egypt.

This segment was most interested in destinations with natural and scenic attractions, as well as historical and cultural sites. They also tended to spend at least five days in their choice of location.

Figures for 2004 showed that a majority, or 37.3% of Japanese tourists, spent up to nearly a week in their vacation destination.

There are currently no direct flights between Jordan and Japan. Instead, Japanese tourists travelling to Jordan fly on the airliner Emirates (which operates 14 flights a week from Osaka and Nagoya to Dubai), Qatar Airways (four weekly flights between Osaka and Doha), and Egypt Airways (three weekly flights between Tokyo and Cairo).

According to global studies, Japanese tourists are currently the third highest spenders among global tourists, with an average expenditure of $2,158 a traveller. International tourism expenditure from Japanese tourists reached around $37.6 billion in 2005.



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