Published on : Saturday, January 9, 2021
Instead of posters showing a wide variety of activities to commemorate the New Year, warning signs can be found in exteriors of cafes and hotels throughout Amman’s downtown streets.
One can notice that the once crowded cafes and restaurants are currently shut down.
By the end of 2020, the COVID-19 crisis claimed more than 3,800 lives in Jordan battering the kingdom’s economy, which witnessed tourism and hospitality business at an “all-time low”, leaving the public yearning for a speedy recovery next year.
“The year 2020 is certainly a very tough year. The hospitality sector endured a big hit due to the corona virus pandemic… The closure of cafes, restaurants, and hotels shows the large impact of the economic downturn,” said Abdul Hakeem Hindi, the chairman of Jordan Hotels Association’s Board of Directors.
He said that ever since the commencement of the pandemic, occupancy rates in the Dead Sea hotels have dropped to around 10 percent on average, and to zero in the rose-red city of Petra.
“International traveling has dramatically declined… Many entertainment facilities inside hotels, such as swimming pools and spas, were also banned to protect the citizen’s health, but it affected the business hugely,” Hindi added.
In spite of the New Year holidays, Jordan’s tourist attractions, namely Petra, Aqaba, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea, witnessed low hotel reservations with canceled celebrations and fewer tourists.
Samir Hason, an employee at a hotel in Aqaba, said that they saw zero reservations for the New Year’s Eve compared to 50-60 percent occupancy during the same period previously.
“This challenging situation is not only happened to us, but even the five-star hotels are also suffering,” said Hason.
Tourism and related industries play a vital role in Jordan’s economy, contributing almost 20 percent of its GDP in 2019.