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Amman's Hospitality Industry Paying the Price for Regional Unrest with a 30% Drop in
February's Hotel Reservations - Worse, No New Reservations Are Coming

By Khetam Malkawi, Jordan Times, AmmanMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 18, 2011--AMMAN -- Unrest in the region negatively impacted the Kingdom's hospitality industry in February, with indicators that the downturn will continue, sector representatives said on Thursday.

Hotel reservations witnessed a 30 per cent drop in February 2011 compared to the same month last year, according to Michael Nazzal, chairman of Jordan Hotels Association (JHA).

He noted that the unrest in the region, which prompted potential visitors to cancel their trips, was the main reason behind the decline.

"We are not only worried about the cancellations; more worrying is the fact that we do not have new reservations," Nazzal told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

Restaurants have also been adversely affected by the slowdown in tourist traffic to the Kingdom, according to the former head of the Jordan Restaurants Association, Zeid Goussous, who noted that their revenues have dropped by 20 to 25 per cent.

"Even the average bill for local restaurant goers is lower than before," Goussous told The Jordan Times, adding that the drop in revenues has affected workers and owners, who cannot afford to give their employees an annual raise.

The total number of tour package cancellations is not available, according to Nizar Atharbieh, director of the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, who is also concerned about the absence of new bookings.

"We did not calculate the cancellations, because we are waiting to receive figures from different tour operators in the country," he told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Some 267,026 tourists visited the Kingdom in February 2011, compared to 270,885 in February 2010, according to Jordan Tourism Board statistics.


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Copyright (c) 2011, Jordan Times, Amman

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