(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Visitors to the Kingdom dropped by 9 per cent in January compared to the same month in 2011, official statistics revealed on Monday.
According to Ministry of Tourism figures, 461,746 tourists visited the country in January 2012, while 507,197 came last January.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nayef Al Fayez said the drop was expected due to the turmoil in the region, which affected the number of tourists who visited Jordan as part of joint packages with other neighbouring countries, including Egypt and Syria.
He noted that although there was a drop in the total number of tourists, the number of Arab visitors increased by 20 per cent in the same time frame.
Figures he presented showed that 94,346 Arab visitors visited the Kingdom in January this year, compared to 78,112 last year.
However, the number of visitors from European countries witnessed a 25 per cent drop from 53,164 to 39,878.
Fayez presented these figures in a press conference yesterday, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Institut Franais du Proche-Orient (IFDP), through which Jordan and France will cooperate in the field of archaeological heritage preservation.
According to the agreement, the IFDP will continue supporting work on the preservation of the ancient city of Jerash, and to computerise the data and archiving system for artefacts.
Fayez pointed out that the two countries began cooperating to preserve Jerash 30 years ago.
French Ambassador to Jordan Corinne Breuze, who attended the signing ceremony, said France has high regard for Jordan."We see culture as a bridge between the people and the presence of the centre [IFDP] is yet another proof of the importance France attaches to Jordan and to the dialogue between the two countries."
She added that cooperation in preserving archaeological sites is part of the cultural exchange between Jordan and France.
The ambassador also noted that a French tourism company attended the meeting of the Jordan-EU Task Force Committee last week and expressed interest in investing in the Kingdom.