|Jordan aims to boost tourism industry by 2010|
|Jordan aims to attract a total of 12 million visitors between now and 2010 as part of a national strategy to bolster the tourism industry, and is seeking private sector involvement as well, officials said in statements published Wednesday.
The National Tourism Strategy also projects that the increase of tourist arrivals in Jordan over the next six years will generate $6.5 billion in receipts and generate 51,000 new jobs, Tourism Minister Alia Buran said.
As part of the new strategy the Tourism Ministry will set up a special committee, comprising experts from the tourist board and the department of antiquities, to market Jordan abroad and develop sites in the country.
Around 2 million tourists are expected to visit the kingdom this year, compared to 1.6 million visitors last year, Buran was quoted as saying in the Jordanian press.
Tourism is Jordan's second source of foreign currency after remittances from Jordanians working abroad. Last year it earned $800 million from tourism.
Jordan has been striving hard to shake of a slump in visitors, which followed the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada in Sept. 2000, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Jordan's debt climbs to $7.32bn as of end-April
AMMAN: Jordan's foreign debt stood at $7.32 billion at the end of April, with 60 percent of the amount owed to industrial nations, the Finance Ministry said in a report released Tuesday.
Japan is Jordan's main creditor and is owed $1.7 billion, followed by France with $837.5 million, Britain with $587 million and then Germany with $469.5 million, it said.
The United States, Jordan's key provider of economic and military assistance, is owed $440 million.
Jordan also owed $239.4 million and $153.7 million respectively to Kuwaiti and Saudi funds, the report said.
International financial institutions are owed a total of $2.3 billion, including more than $1 billion to the World Bank.
Last year Jordan's foreign debt climbed to $7.7 billion.
In July 2002, the Paris Club agreed to reschedule $1.2 billion.
Beirut,07 05 2004
The Daily Star