(MENAFN- Jordan News Agency)
Amman, May 9 (Petra) -- The U.S. Embassy, United Airlines and representatives of Jordan's transport and tourism sectors Tuesday celebrated the newest connection between Amman and Washington D.C., a 12-hour direct flight on United Airlines.
U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Mike Hankey delivered an address where he talked about the benefits of the new direct flight, the most prominent of which is increased tourism, economic activity and business connections, as well as the knock-on effect on both countries' economies.
U.S. companies already invest more than $156 million annually in Jordan, and total trade between the two countries tallies $4 billion each year. That will increase with another direct connection between the countries, Hankey said.
'The United States and Jordan enjoy a longstanding partnership, and this route – connecting our capitals – is an important symbol of our relationship,' Hankey said, adding, 'this new direct flight will strengthen our deep ties and contribute to shared economic opportunity.'
As for tourism, the new flights make it easier for more Americans to visit the heritage site of Petra and the Dead Sea and many other tourist destinations.
The new route builds on the free trade agreement (FTA) between Jordan and the U.S., one of only 20 agreements in the world enabling duty-free access to the U.S. market. 'The FTA is an enduring symbol of the close and continuing friendship between our countries,' Hankey said.
Hankey noted how important the connection between the two capitals would be in positioning Jordan as a stronger regional gateway, building ties between other Middle Eastern countries and facilitating local commerce.
For his part, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Emad Hijazeen, said the new flight contributes to strengthening tourism, as well as economic and social relations between the two countries, and the cultural and humanitarian rapprochement between the peoples.
He added that it would increase the number of American visitors to Jordan and facilitate the movement of travelers.
Hijazeen noted that there are 6 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, including Petra, the Baptism Site, Qasr Umrah, Umm al-Rasas, Wadi Rum and, finally, Salt; 'the city of tolerance and urban hospitality.'
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