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Jordan decides to deter individuals

7 December 2010

From 1st January 2011, visa fees to enter Jordan as an individual traveller will go up. At the time of writing only the Jordanian Embassy in Australia has publicly posted this information officially; no doubt more will follow.

The cost of a single-entry visa is doubling to 20JD (or US$30 equivalent; roughly £19).

A new category is being created for a double-entry visa, at 30JD (or US$45 equivalent; roughly £28).

And a multiple-entry visa is trebling in price, to 60JD (or US$85 equivalent; roughly £54).

These apply only to individual travellers. People arriving in Jordan in a group of five or more, booked through a tour operator, travelling together and staying for more than two nights, qualify for free visas.

(Presumably, visa fees if you arrive by land, air or sea at Aqaba remain free, under Jordan’s desperately confusing system of semi-autonomous administration for the Aqaba duty-free zone “ASEZA“.)

This comes on top of this year’s huge rises in entry fees to Petra, which now stand at 50JD (US$70/£45) for one day, rising to 60JD (US$85/£54) for three days – or an eye-watering 90JD (US$126/£80) if you are on a daytrip to Jordan from elsewhere.

These numbers do their own talking. As regular visitors to this blog will know, I have spent a lot of time in Jordan, and I love the country very much. On the back of figures stating that 48% of foreign holidays taken by Brits in 2009-10 were individual trips NOT booked through a tour operator, I am perplexed – and worried – by this latest decision. It sends the wrong message to the market and I believe could paint Jordan into a corner, forcing the country to rely more and more on group trade in years to come – just when potential visitors from Europe and North America are seeking more flexibility and niche value to their holidays.

I hope it doesn’t backfire.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 January 2011 9.34am

    This is a welcome move by me, Jordanians suffer paying for high Visa fees to many European countries, it’s only fair we start charging more for them coming here. I’m day dreaming here, but maybe it can convince the country to lower the taxes and we can get some of our Visa money back.

  2. 2 January 2011 9.52am

    Thanks for coming by, Tarakiyee – great to hear your perspective. Unfortunately, it’s not a balanced situation. Western countries don’t need Jordanians to come to their countries – but Jordan desperately needs tourists of all nationalities around the world to visit: tourism is very important for the Jordanian economy, directly and indirectly.

    Jordan is competing in a global market for tourism – if people think Jordan is too expensive, they’ll simply travel elsewhere: Egypt, Syria, Oman, Morocco, South America, India, Thailand… If you take a global perspective, Jordan’s tourism product simply isn’t developed enough to justify high visa fees.

  3. 27 January 2011 8.33am

    Bad news indeed. I loved Jordan where I spent the winter of 2004-2005 and I’ve been dreaming of a long trip from Tbilisi in Georgia to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt via Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. I have friends in all these countries whom I would love to see again and introduce to my wife but now Jordanians erected a new annoying barrier on our way.

    Maybe we should revert the direction of the trip and start in Sharm, then take a boat to Aqaba? Or shall we have to leave the country only by way of Aqaba in this case?

  4. 27 January 2011 8.50am

    hi George – and thank you for visiting. Yes, it would make sense to reverse your trip and enter Jordan at Aqaba (note that the ferries run from Nuweiba, a little way north of Sharm). Jordanian visas issued for entry at Aqaba are free. And once you are inside Jordan, you can move freely: you don’t have to exit the same way – it’s fine to exit northwards into Syria.

    I think it’s often nicer to travel like that – do a long flight first, to the furthest point of your itinerary, then travel back overland towards home. It lets you forget that initial jump, and then retain something of the feel of a journey on the way back towards familiarity.

    Beware, though, that this makes visiting Israel on the same trip more difficult. Syria and Lebanon will refuse you entry if your passport shows evidence of a visit to Israel. It’s possible to avoid those stamps, by crossing to and fro via the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge from Jordan (where passports are generally not stamped by either side, if you ask) – but it’s not guaranteed, and if your passport is stamped at that crossing you will have to shorten your trip and fly from Jordan to Turkey.

    It might be better to consider a separate trip just for Israel alone – there are some pretty good-value flights to Tel Aviv from Ekaterinburg, I think?

Trackbacks

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