By: Ian Stalker
Jordan is inviting tourists to return, saying Jordanian landscapes are one of several reasons why tourists should feel comfortable vacationing there in this day and age.
Jordan is one of many countries working to rebuild a tourism trade badly battered by the coronavirus pandemic, with Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board North America, saying her recent visit to the country has convinced her that her homeland is safe for visitors.
“I have just returned from three weeks in Jordan and as spring begins to turn into summer and vaccination rates increase across North America and Jordan, I wanted to confirm that Jordan is open, and Bedouin hospitality is waiting for you,” she said in a newsletter. “As I travelled through the country, I felt welcome and safe at every turn. From Amman to Aqaba, people abided by Covid rules and social distancing. Jordan’s vaccination rate is incredibly high and extremely efficient. The tourism sector has been a priority for vaccination across the country and Jordanian ground operators are incentivizing all their staff to be vaccinated.”
The country is now seeing an uptick in tourist visits, mostly small groups and FIT travellers, Asfour’s colleague Janine Jervis told Travel Courier. Tour operators are also starting to report having bookings for the fall and even this summer.
Jervis noted those touring Jordan will largely find themselves in “outdoor, wide-open spaces. It (Jordan) is an open-air museum and the climate allows for outdoor dining and activities, and with the vaccination rate picking up speed in Jordan and specifically in the tourism sector, there shouldn’t be many concerns. The hotels are very strict in implementing the protocols, and we have outlined on our COVID page all the different protocols being implemented throughout the tourism sector as a whole, from the tourism sites, to the restaurants, to the camp sites, transportation, etc.”
Most tourism sector workers have been fully vaccinated and both vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists who have had a negative PCR test are able to visit all tourist sites and hotels are open. Tourist sites are operating at 50% capacity and hotel capacity is restricted to 70%.
New procedures have been released for arriving passengers to Jordan via all borders. A PCR Covid test must be conducted within 72 hours prior to the departure from the first embarkation airport/border crossing for all travellers and again for unvaccinated travellers upon arrival in Jordan at their own cost (US$40). Arriving passengers who have been fully vaccinated are exempt from the PCR test upon arrival to Jordan from the U.S. or Canada.
All travellers must complete a health declaration and locator form at check-in, obtain health/travel insurance and visit https://gateway2jordan.gov.jo to complete the required travel declaration form and obtain their personal QR code, which is mandatory for boarding. Vaccinated travellers will need to show their vaccination certificate or proof of vaccination (full doses) upon check-in and to be uploaded to the platform (https://gateway2jordan.gov.jo). This QR code will also serve as proof of vaccination for fully vaccinated travellers upon arrival in Jordan and while traveling through the country.
Passengers below the age of five are exempted from the platform and from COVID testing procedures.
After June 15, fully vaccinated passengers who have received their complete doses are exempted from curfew restrictions and are free to roam during curfew hours.
The tourism board reports that all international flights – including British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa – will resume soon, some as early as July.
Asfour said she found her own arrival in Jordan problem-free.
“When I arrived at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, I immediately got in line for my pre-paid Covid test,” she reported. “It was extremely efficient and only took a few minutes. From there, I proceeded through immigration, baggage claim and into the arms of my brother who I had not seen in 1.5 years!
“Before flying back to the USA, I went through a drive-through Covid testing site and received my negative result the same day. All the paperwork needed for my flight back to the U.S. was emailed to me which was convenient in presenting it to the authorities at the airport upon check-in.
“It was a bit strange getting on a plane for the first time and figuring out what type of mask to wear knowing I would have to wear it for a long flight. However, my experience was quite pleasant, comfortable and I felt very safe wearing a mask. As I was fully vaccinated before I arrived, my mind was at ease. With Covid restrictions and an increase in hygiene awareness, I actually felt more comfortable than in pre-covid days using public facilities and/or transportation.”
Asfour also said those who choose Jordan for a vacation will help communities that have been struggling without tourism revenues.
“During my trip it was reinforced how important tourism is to destinations who depend on visitors,” she said. “Your clients give Jordanians purpose, help alleviate hunger, increase educational opportunities and gender equity, allow local communities to thrive and sustain their livelihoods.
“We know that travellers are looking for nature and adventure driven trips, we know that travellers are looking for wellness and family vacations, we know that people are wanting to connect in meaningful ways and travel to destinations that are open with strict hygiene protocols. I can assure you that Jordan can check all these boxes and more, and I am excited to do all I can to help tourism return stronger than ever to my country.”
More information can be found at: https://www.myjordanjourney.com/coronavirus-update.