Building tourism amidst the war in Gaza

Posted: 8 July 2024 | | No comments yet

Listen to this exclusive interview with the CEO of Aqaba Airport where he talks about the war in Gaza and how it has affected them.

In this exclusive interview which took place at Routes Asia 2024, Ramzi Arafat, CEO of Aqaba Airports Company and Director of King Hussein International Airport, discusses the airport’s operations and future plans. Since taking on his role in 2021, Ramzi has overseen both the company’s strategic management and the operational aspects of the airport. Despite challenges, including the impact of the Gaza conflict, the airport saw significant passenger growth in 2023, reaching 2019 numbers with over 300,000 passengers, although Ramzi says it would have been 400,000 if it had not been for the war in Gaza.

A lot of tourists still come to Jordan, however [due to the war in Gaza] there is a drop, and it did tremendously impact our tourism. For Aqaba Airport alone, we lost almost 80% from our traffic. Jordan in total had an almost 60% drop of traffic”

Located near the city of Petra, a major tourist attraction, the airport aims to expand and enhance its facilities to support increasing tourism.

The King of Jordan is actively supporting aviation development as part of the national tourism strategy. Ramsay highlights the efforts to market Aqaba Airport, including participation in route development conferences. The airport experienced a 200% increase in passenger traffic in January 2023 compared to the previous year, managed through effective slot management despite ongoing baggage handling system upgrades.

Plans are underway to build a new terminal by 2050, aiming to handle two million passengers with phased expansions based on demand forecasts. Despite regional security concerns affecting international tourism and flight operations, Ramzi remains optimistic. He is working on commercial projects and new routes to diversify revenue and stabilise traffic. 

Listen to the exclusive interview now!


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