Travel advice for post-Arab Spring destinations – Jordan

by in Features, Home, Jordan, Middle East, Places.

Almost 18 months since the protests in Tunisia set off a chain of events which became known as the Arab Spring, each of the affected countries in the Middle East and North Africa is facing its own challenges and opportunities. Many of these countries were heavily reliant on foreign visitors and statistics show catastrophic falls in tourist numbers of up to a third following the huge political changes. One of the consequences of such a decline is billions of dollars in lost income, but with the situation in many countries in the region now stable travellers are again considering spending time and money on a summer holiday in a post-Arab Spring country.

This series of articles will examine the prospects for travel to destinations which were popular in pre-revolutionary times as well as a couple of places that may have been off the radar but could be worth considering for your next trip. Safety is paramount and will be given first priority – we will relay the latest travel advisory information we have from reliable sources at the time of publication but naturally situations can change and ultimately it is up to each potential visitor to decide whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

We have not included Syria for obvious reasons. When peace returns – as we hope it will before too long – we will update this series.

The first article covered Egypt, the second one was about Tunisia and the third was about Morocco. Now we turn our attention to a destination which is growing in popularity but is still under the radar to a lot of travellers – which is definitely unjustified…

Jordan

Image (c) atlastours.net

The Arab Spring in Jordan

Following the events in Tunisia and Egypt, protests began in Jordan in January 2011 and continued throughout the year. The country’s ruler, King Abdullah II, made changes to the cabinet but this did little to satisfy those who took to the streets. However the government reaction to the protests in Jordan was less violent than elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

The current situation:

Normalcy has returned to Jordanian life and such demonstrations that do take place are generally peaceful. Tourism has never been a huge part of the economy but the country is working hard to push Jordan as an exciting place to visit. A notable effort in this field has been the use of travel bloggers in campaigns to raise awareness of the country’s potential – something that puts Jordan some way ahead of many of its competitors.

Security:

Jordan is considered safe for travel by the British Foreign Office and all other major advisory services. Protests continue in many parts of the country on Fridays and occasionally on other days of the week. Demonstrations may also occur in response to events in Gaza and the West Bank, at refugee camps, university campuses and town centres. Tourists are advised to avoid downtown Amman after Friday midday prayers.

The effects on tourism:

Tourism was hit hard in 2011; it is estimated that receipts dropped by $1 billion, even though almost all tour operators continued to feature Jordan on their programmes.

Attractions for visitors:

While the stunning ancient city of Petra is probably Jordan’s most well-known attraction, there is plenty more to see – here too you will find the ruins of Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels and biblical sites

Image (c) atlastours.net

Yet there are is astonishing natural diversity too – from ‘swimming’ in the Dead Sea to visiting rich green wadis, the red desert at Wadi Rum or the coral reefs of the Gulf of Aqaba. Amman is a modern and exciting city too and Jordanians are offer a genuine welcome to visitors. The hospitality bestowed upon you by this passionate and proud people will likely be the most vivid memory you take home.

Our verdict:

Jordan is a safe, exotic and interesting place to visit with a wide variety of attractions and has yet to be discovered by most tourists. With no discernible effects from the Arab Spring there is nothing to stop you from making Jordan your next holiday destination.

 

Image (c) atlastours.net

Are you considering travel to Jordan? Do you think it’s too dangerous? Use the form below to send us your comments on this article and don’t forget to sign up for email updates!

The next in our series on the post-Arab Spring countries will cover a rising favourite with savvy travellers – Lebanon

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4 Responses to “Travel advice for post-Arab Spring destinations – Jordan”

  1. DanielJuly 10, 2012 at 20:43 #

    Andy, I agree with you that Jordan is a safe destination. I live here with my family and we have no hestitaton telling people that their time in Jordan will be remarkable and safe.

    We hitch-hiked through Jordan last year and I would do it again today and completely certain we would have the same results. http://www.engagingcultures.com/blog/jordan-safe-heres-what-we-found-out

    Best,

    @eculturesdaniel

  2. EllianaSeptember 9, 2012 at 06:24 #

    I was looking for a fresh blog that can somehow lessen my anxiety with regards to the current situation in Jordan. Glad I stumbled in your article. Our travel date’s set this coming October with a travel agency (http://www.americaisrael.us/jordan-tours/), which assured us that the risk we are taking of traveling to Jordan is the same risk with traveling to other countries.
    Jordan is beautiful, just by looking at its pictures and reading people’s reviews. It’d be a huge heartache to miss this chance of visiting Jordan.

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