Many tourists visiting Israel often take a day-trip to Jordan. Obviously some stay over in Jordan for at least a night, but most tourists take a quick trip up to Petra (often via the Eilat border crossing) to see the magnificent Red Rock at Petra and then head on back over the border to Israel on the same day.
This hasn’t exactly been winning over those in the Jordan tourism business, as most tourists aren’t spending their tourist dollars in Jordan.
As a result, Jordan last week announced new price hikes in the entry fee to Petra, but only for those tourists who come via the Arava (Eilat) crossing and who don’t stay a night at a Jordanian hotel. The current rate of $49 will apply to any tourist who stays a night in Jordan, but for those who don’t, and who come via Israel, they will have an extra $80 to pay ($130).
In a move that has angered Israeli tour operators, especially those in Eilat (they’ve even contacted President Shimon Peres in an effort to get him to convince the Jordanian King that the price hikes must go), many see this as a move to wipe out day-trips to Jordan from Israel, and feel that a large number of tourists will now hop over the border to Sinai where they can catch a ferry to Jordan and still pay the regular entry fee of $49.
For now, the price hike looks to be staggered in over the next few months: from March 1st it will cost $74, and from October 1st, tourists will pay $130.
The Israeli Tourism Ministry had this to say, perhaps rather optimistically:
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov sees a fundamental importance to cooperation between countries in the region in the area of tourism. According to the minister, ‘The Holy Land acts as a bridge for peace, prosperity, and brotherhood among the nations. Tourism is a joint interest of all the nations and countries. Joint activities in the past succeeded in promoting tourism – the pope’s visit, Christmas events, and more. I am certain that we will continue to collaborate in the future.
Better get your Red Rocks while they’re still cheap!