Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism has said tourism revenues rose by more than a quarter in the first seven months of the year, with more than four million people visiting the kingdom.
According to official statistics published on Saturday and reported by the Jordan Times, revenues generated by the tourism sector grew 26 percent in the first seven months of the year, reaching JD1.4bn ($2bn), up from JD1.1bn in the same period in 2009.
Around 80 percent of the revenue was generated in Petra, the newspaper said, which accounted for JD9.9m, up from JD6.8m during the same period in 2009 – a rise of 45 percent.
According to the newspaper ministry figures said more than 4.8 million tourists visited the kingdom during the period, a 23 per cent increase from 2009, when some 3.9 million visitors toured the country.
Overnight visitors rose by 29 percent, and the number of one-day tourists increased 17 percent, the report said.
The newspaper added that Jordanian expatriates made up the largest segment of visitors, accounting for 740,375, followed by visitors from non-Gulf Arab countries (682,587), Arab Gulf countries (555,865), Europe (415,525) and Asia (151,122).
Arab countries languish at bottom of visa-free rankings
A global list of countries, ranked according to the visa restrictions imposed on their citizens, revealed that the number of countries Arabs do not need visas to enter is quite limited and the Gulf countries are generally languishing towards the bottom of the rankings.
Compiled by Henley and Partners (H&P), a global firm specializing in international immigration and citizenship law, and using data from the The Air Transport Association (IATA), the list looked the visa requirements of citizens from 194 countries.
The score assigned to each country reflected how many countries various nationalities could enter without a visa. For example, the top ranking Arab country was Kuwait wiith a score of 71, meaning Kuwaitis can enter 71 countries and territories without a visa.
The next highest ranking Arabic country was Bahrain with a score of 67, followed by Qatar (66), the UAE (64), Oman (61), Saudi Arabia (57), Egypt (43), Jordan (39), Syria (39), Yemen (38), Iran (34), Lebanon (32) and Ira (27).
Iraq was the second last country on the rankings, listed just above Afghanistan and below Sudan and Somalia.
The H&P report determined that the “global ranking reflects the international travel freedom of the citizens of the various countries as well as the international relations and status of individual countries relative to others.”
British citizens enjoyed the most travel freedom, being able to enter 166 countries without a visa. The rest of the top five was top heavy with Scandinavian countries, with Denmark (164) second, followed by Sweden (163), Finland (162) and then Luxembourg (162).
The list has been published since 2006 and a comparison with the 2008 shows that the number of countries Arab countries can enter visa-free has increased over the last two years by an average of around 25 percent.