The first fruits of a national five-year tourism strategy are beginning to materialise, after bids were submitted in late November for the consultancy contracts on two pilot projects, at Lehun and Umm al-Rasas. The projects will involve supervising preservation and museum construction works at the two archaeological sites. Contract awards are due in early January.
The pilot projects, which are financed by the European Commission, are the first in a series of development schemes outlined by the 2005-10 National Development Programme. According to officials at the Tourism & Antiquities Ministry, the biggest projects, due to be tendered in early 2005, will involve preparing integrated urban and tourism development plans for the ancient cities of Kerak and Jerash. Plans have already been drawn up for the development, protection and management of tourism in Petra and Wadi Rum. The technical implementation contracts are expected to be tendered in mid-2005. The government is also preparing to tender a number of concessions to develop land on the Dead Sea coast and in the northern forested region, near Ajloun. The programme is supported by $32 million in loans from the World Bank and a $65 million loan from the Japan International Co-operation Agency, as well as bilateral support agreements with individual EU states. The aim of the strategy is to increase tourism receipts by nearly 100 per cent to JD 1,300 million ($1,840 million) by 2010, with an annual target of JD 455 million ($637 million) in government taxation receipts.
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