The recent cancellation of scheduled tourist trips to the region is not as worrying as those that might surface in the future, Tourism Minister Aqel Biltaji said last week.
“The two-to-four-month cancellations are not my worry. My concern is about the cancellations down the line,” he said.
In an interview with the Jordan Times, Biltaji said he would try to promote Jordan as a separate destination for overseas tourists, many of whom changed their plans following the recent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.
“My concern is for a year ahead, because people plan and they have room to pick up other destinations,” he said. “My job is to pursue the (reasons) for their cancellations and work on them.”
Biltaji plans to implement the theme of the rise of the new millennium, which advocates faith, peace and partnership.
Israel has issued a travel advisory asking its nationals to refrain at this stage from visiting Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Indonesia. Those who would like to travel at their own risk are advised to take precautions.
While some tour operators felt a noticeable decline in their scheduled itineraries for incoming tourists, others say that cancellations are minimal, especially for tourists who plan to travel exclusively to Jordan.
The tourism minister said 200 French tourists cancelled their trips to the region for the upcoming month, and that combined tours including Jordan and Israel have been affected.
At the same time, he said the season has not been influenced negatively, saying that Petra and Amman are full of tourists.
“Even though the cancellations do not pose a major threat, we should take everything seriously by being proactive,” he said. “We have to maintain what is booked.”
Biltaji said the Jordan Tourism Board, in charge of promoting Jordan's attractions abroad, is targeting the Latin American and the Far Eastern markets. ― (Jordan Times )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )