Deal with Turkish Airlines may jumpstart tourism to Jordan's Aqaba

Published September 17th, 2015 - 03:36 GMT

The recent agreement between Royal Jordanian (RJ) and Turkish Airlines (TA) is a "qualitative addition" to tourism in Aqaba, an official at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) said.

The code share agreement, which will go into effect starting September 21, allows the two airlines to place their carrier codes on each other’s flights between Amman and Istanbul, and RJ will place its carrier code on TA flights between Aqaba and Istanbul. 

The move is expected to increase the influx of tourists and visitors from East Asia to Aqaba, ASEZA Chief Commissioner Hani Mulki told The Jordan Times Tuesday over the phone, adding that are three direct flights weekly between Aqaba and Istanbul.

Furthermore, RJ's recent decision to increase the number of weekly flights between Amman and Aqaba from 11 to 16, starting September 29, will also facilitate the transport of tourists who arrive in Amman and want to visit Aqaba.

"The Amman-Aqaba flights are complementary to RJ's flights coming from all over the world," he said, adding that the move is expected to boost domestic tourism.

Meanwhile, the official cited ongoing "serious negotiations" between RJ and a group of investors on the possibility of converting the national Royal Wings air carrier into a low-cost carrier, as the criteria for identifying low-cost carriers entails a "non-main" airport.

"We are currently in the initial steps, but there is great potential for it to materialise," Mulki said in the phone interview.

The Great Arab Revolt 100th anniversary 

As next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt, 
ASEZA formed a number of committees to prepare for a cultural celebration that sheds lights on Aqaba’s importance during the revolt.

"The non-ceremonial activity is to look indepth into the sites where the revolt took place, as well as the vision and accomplishments of the historical event," he said.

Renovation of historical sites 

Furthermore, the authority has recently finished the renovation of the Ayla Islamic site in Aqaba for touristic rather archaeological purposes, according to Mulki.

He added that work is currently under way for an upkeep of one of the world’s oldest churches, which is only 200 metres away from the Islamic site.

By Dana al-Emam

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