(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN - The Kingdom ranked eighth globally in terms of international tourism receipts growth during the first quarter (Q1) of 2023, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The most recent UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, which regularly monitors global tourism trends, showed that Jordan's international tourism receipts witnessed a 31 per cent growth during the first three months of 2023 compared with
Q1 of 2019.
Jordan was preceded by Mauritius, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey, Serbia, Romania and Pakistan which marked a 208 per cent growth, according to the report.
Its data also shows that the destinations reporting the highest growth in international tourist arrivals in Q1 of 2023 compared with Q1 of 2019 are Qatar with a 98 per cent growth, followed by Saudi Arabia with a 64 per cent growth and Albania with a 54 per cent growth.
“International tourism is well on its way to returning to pre-pandemic levels, with twice as many people travelling during the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period of 2022, UNWTO said in a recent statement.
Its report stated that international tourist arrivals reached 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in Q1 of 2023.During this period, roughly 235 million tourists travelled internationally, which is more than twice the number of tourists recorded in Q1 of 2022, it noted.
“The Middle East saw the strongest performance as the only region exceeding 2019 arrivals [+15%] and the first to recover pre-pandemic numbers in a full quarter,” the report said.
Europe recovered 90 per cent of pre-pandemic tourist arrivals, while Africa reached 88 per cent, the Americas recovered about 85 per cent of 2019 levels and Asia and the Pacific recovered 54 of tourist arrivals' pre-pandemic levels, it added.
The report predicts a continued recovery in international tourism during 2023“backed by strong pent-up demand, the sustained recovery of air connectivity, as well as by the recent reopening of China and other major Asian markets and destinations”.
However, the UNWTO Panel of Experts survey indicates that“the challenging economic environment continues to be the main factor weighing on the effective recovery of international tourism in 2023, with high inflation and rising oil prices translating into higher transport and accommodations costs”, according to the report.
Associate Professor of Tourism Marketing and Assistant Dean at the School of Tourism and Hospitality at Yarmouk University, Salem Harahsheh noted that Jordan enjoys a diverse range of geographical features and a high level of safety and security, which distinguish it as a“favourite” tourist attraction.
“The Kingdom offers diverse tourism products that allow it to target and attract different types of tourists from different markets around the world,” he told The Jordan Times.
The includes historical and archaeological sites such as Petra and religiously significant sites such the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ, Harahsheh noted.
Visitors can also enjoy medical tourism experiences in the Ma'in Hot Springs and the Dead Sea and visit natural reserves in different regions across the Kingdom, he added.
Moreover, Harahsheh pointed out that maintaining this level growth requires enhancing marketing efforts through increasing its allocated budget, diversifying employed strategies and expanding targeted markets.
He also stressed the importance of increasing efforts to ensure that local communities are benefiting from this increase in the influx of tourists.
“This can be done through creating community-based tourism products that offer tourists an authentic experience and, at the same time, provide locals with a source of income.
“It's also important to support the establishment of projects that employ locals and provide tourists with needed services along tourism trails, such as small hotels and traditional crafts shops,” he said.