Aqaba, along Jordan’s only stretch of coastline, will be given a face lift, writes Emily Eastman.
The Jordanian coastal resort of Aqaba is getting a multi-billion-dollar makeover, according to Dr Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, managing director of the Jordan Tourism Board.
Three major projects worth $16.6 billion are under way: the development of a golf course designed by Australian golfing legend Greg Norman and the construction of two new five-star hotels, the Hyatt Regency, opening in January, and the Al Manara, part of the Marriott Collection.
Aqaba is situated in the south of the country along its only stretch of coastline. This month, low-cost airline EasyJet launches the first direct flights from London to Aqaba, a move expected to boost this Red Sea resort.
Jordan is a small country, enabling tour operators to run day trips from Aqaba to the bucket-list sites of Petra and the Dead Sea and the desert wilderness of Wadi Rum.
Dr Abed says wellness and medical tourism is a key growth area – the Dead Sea is renowned for its healing properties – alongside the ever-popular religious tourism (Jordan is home to 34 Christian sites and four pilgrimage sites).
The tourism board is keen to work closely with agents in promoting these unique products, which Dr Abed said offers a “diversity of experience”.