'Jordan will wait for you': new video tells tourists not to rush back

Jordan's new tourism campaign reminds travellers what is waiting to be rediscovered when movement restrictions are lifted

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In the ancient city of Petra, Jordan's best-known tourist destination, shadows fall against golden rocks and the towering Treasury stands isolated without its usual throng of tour groups and souvenir-sellers.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought tourism in Jordan to a dramatic halt but, in the latest video from the Jordanian tourism board, the message is not to rush back (which is impossible for most due to a ban on commercial passenger flights).

The ad campaign, in an unusual move, urges travellers to take their time.

"Majestic Petra has been standing still in the face of time for over 2,000 years," begins the video as it opens with a shot of the Nabataean Treasury. "And now, it's waiting," says the voice over on the hauntingly beautiful video.

A Bedouin sits on rocks in Wadi Rum. The coronavirus has crushed tourism across Jordan, but the country is waiting patiently for travellers to return. Courtesy Hayley Skirka 

The Visit Jordan movie then takes viewers on a visual journey across the country, showcasing some of its highlights, including the shorelines of Aqaba in the south, the never-ending Wadi Rum desert and the green forests of Ajloun.

It pans across Amman, reminding travellers that "the beating heart" of the capital is waiting for their return.

"Take your time," ends the video, "we will be waiting for you."

Jordan implemented some of the world's strictest measures against the coronavirus as it worked to halt the spread of Covid-19. Lockdowns and night-time curfews were implemented across the country and travellers arriving into Jordan were placed in mandatory quarantine.

The country later suspended all air travel for passengers and the suspension is still in place today.

These extreme measures have proven successful in controlling the virus. Jordan has a population of more than 10 million people but has only 540 confirmed cases of Covid-19 to date.

Conversely, the measures have devastated tourism, which typically accounts for around 10 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.

The Tourism Ministry in Jordan recently announced measures to help those working in the industry. These included waiving fees for licenses and exempting some tourism facilities from rent.

For Engaging Cultures Travel, a tour company that runs trips across Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and Palestine, it has been a rough few months.

"March was spent issuing refunds for cancelled tours and the number of online tour inquiries we receive has dropped precipitously," explains Jon Killpack, co-owner of the company.

"The uncertainty of when travel will begin again is a challenge for many in the tourism industry," said the Jordan-based operator.