AMMAN — Visitor numbers continued to grow during the first six months of this year, with tourist arrivals 13.8 per cent higher than the same period of 2006, official figures revealed Saturday.
Preliminary figures released by the Ministry of Tourism indicated that around 3 million tourists visited the country between January and June, compared to 2.633 million during the same period of last year.
Tourism revenues also rose 20.6 per cent, from JD470.8 million in 2006 to JD567.8 million this year, the Central Bank of Jordan reported.
Tourists from Arab and Gulf countries formed the bulk of arrivals, rising 9.4 per cent to 844,441 visitors between January and June this year compared to 772,032 visitors in the same period of 2006.
They accounted for 55 per cent of all overnight visitors to the Kingdom during the first six months of this year.
Visitors from the Gulf were followed by those from European countries, an increase of 39 per cent, reaching 268,933 tourists compared to 193,458 in 2006.
Arrivals from the Americas rose by 13 per cent in the same comparative period — from 71,681 to 81,000.
Meanwhile, tourists from East Asia and the Pacific shot up by 20 per cent, from 36,705 to 44,095, while arrivals from South Asia rose 18 per cent, from 18,835 to 22,214.
These figures included both same-day and overnight visitors, with the latter totalling 1.5 million– a number that rose 12.8 per cent from 1.3 million tourists in the same period of 2006.
The number of same-day visitors increased by nearly 15 per cent to 1.487 million from 1.294 million last year.
Figures for arrivals on package tours, which were only available for the first five months of this year, showed a slight rise of 3.2 per cent, from 132,914 travelers last year, to 137,186 this year.
Nearly half the overnight stays were in Amman, with 118,159 tourists staying in the capital for at least two nights and almost 25 per cent, or 75,355 visitors, spending an average of two nights in Petra.
A total of 30,904 tourists spent the night in Aqaba and 24,385 at the Dead Sea, accounting for around 11 per cent of arrivals on package tours.