(MENAFN- Jordan News Agency)
Aqaba, May 3 (Petra) - Chairman of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), Nayef Fayez, stressed the importance of Aqaba as a tourist, investment and commercial attraction, reviewing in this regard multiple indicators achieved in the first quarter of 2023.
Fayez referred to His Majesty King Abdullah II's interest in Aqaba, and follow-up of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II, to its achieve growth and their keenness to complete its development projects, according to firm and stable strategies, which constitutes motivation to make further achievements in the port city.
During a press conference on Wednesday, he said Aqaba was and is still a "global" tourist destination, an economic trade logistical gateway, and a "vital" artery for the Kingdom as the only Jordanian sea outlet to the world.
ASEZA is working on updating its 2020-2025 strategy to put Aqaba on the world tourism map, in a bid to become a global center for training, human-building capacities, and shift towards the creative industry and the environmentally friendly green economy, he said.
He also referred to the projected objectives of the updated strategy, which would increase volume of ASEZA's domestic and foreign investments that contributes to providing more than 5,000 new job opportunities, achieving growth rates in various economic indicators, and raising its contribution to the gross domestic product.
Presenting performance indicators in ASEZA's tourism sector, he indicated that the number of visitors to ASEZA from various border crossings during the first quarter of 2023 amounted to 401,000 tourists, with a growth rate of 42%.
Fayez added that growth rate of ASEZA's hotel room occupancy reached 45%, while passenger movement through King Hussein International Airport (KHIA) increased to 112%.
Travelers onborad cruise ships increased to 280%, meanwhile visitors to southern Wadi Rum region rose to 310%, he said, adding that growth rate of arrivals through Wadi Araba International Crossing stood at 308%, and arrivals through Durra International Crossing rose to 872%.
Fayez indicated that the number of ships docking at port of Aqaba during the first quarter of 2023 grew by 14%, while growth rate of the container number hit 15%, adding that handling operations of various goods rose by 29%.
With regard to investment and business environment promotion, Fayez noted 71 companies were registered with ASEZA during the first quarter of 2023, including 36 commercial establishments, while 32 others were services firms and 3 industrial businesses.
ASEZA automated 105 services in its various sectors and will increase the number to 160 e-services by end of 2023, he announced.
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