PETRA2_bigThe first quarter of 2010 heralded good news for Jordan’s tourism sector in what could be another landmark year. Statistics by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the by the Central Bank of Jordan have shown across-the-board increases in both visitor numbers as well as tourism receipts.

The Ministry of Tourism has said overnight tourist numbers have jumped 33.4% during the first quarter to 883,450 people from a total of 662,075 in the same period of 2009. Same day visitors were up 17.6% to 651,325 people from 553,929 in 2009. The Ministry said overall numbers in the first quarter totaled 1,534,802 visitors compared to 1,216,004 in the same period of 2009, and representing a jump of 26.2%.

With the exception of African visitors whose numbers have declined by 5%, all other regions have witnessed increasing numbers particularly from Europe. American visitors increased by 8.7%, Asia-Pacific nationals by 27%, South Asians by 29.4%, Arabs by 20.8%, and Europeans by 35.5%.

Figures by the Central Bank of Jordan have shown that tourism receipts in the first quarter went up by 39.7% to 503 million Jordanian Dinar ($701 million) from 360 million ($501 million) in the same period of 2009 – a increase of $200 million.

Tourist traffic to Petra witnessed significant growth in the first four months of the year, according to the official statistics issued by the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA). The statistics indicated that 321,000 tourists visited the ancient Nabataean city in the January-April period, compared to 223,000 in the same period in 2009, a 44 per cent increase.

Approximately 111,834 tourists visited Petra in the month of April, a 37 per cent increase from April 2009.

Tourism revenues at the site have risen by 46 per cent since the beginning of the year, amounting to JD6.3 million, up from JD4.3 million during the same period last year.

According to the PDTRA, the rose-red city generated JD2.2 million in revenues in April, compared to JD1.6 million in April 2009.

The authority indicated that 103,000 visitors to the site last month were non-Jordanians compared to 75,000 in April 2009.