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Published on : Monday, October 17, 2016
In Jordan, on the summit of Mount Nebo, there’s a beautiful Franciscan church adjacent to the Dead Sea which stands as a symbol of early Christian civilization. Nebo is said to be the place where Moses first set his eyes and a site close to the Jordan River is said to be the place where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
On the hill, there are four new churches standing on the ruins of ancient places of worship, which were rediscovered in the 1990s after Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty. Lina Mazhar An-nab, Jordan’s minister of tourism and antiquities said that Jordan is clearly the most important country in the world when it comes to Christian tourism and it can be safely argued that Christianity started in Jordan. But even after all this and Jordan’s historical importance, tourism and visitor numbers in Jordan are not that bright.
Before the conflict in Syria, tourism made for 13% and 15% of Jordan’s GDP. But now that has fallen to 11% as visitors from traditional European markets continue to stay away due to security concerns in the Arabian world. Despite security threats in the Middle East, Jordan’s situation is much secure and stable, but still, it hasn’t managed to differentiate it from rest of the Middle East. To progress tourism and attract more visitors, Jordan is targeting emerging Asian markets like China.
Chinese visitors are increasingly growing and so, Jordan sees that as an opportunity. South Korea comes next with many South Koreans traveling to holy sites in Israel and Jordan looks forward to market itself to them. Tourism is important in Jordan currently to lift it from economic challenges and to create more job opportunities.