Jordan- Travel agencies lament being ‘sidelined’ ahead of resumption of flight operations

(MENAFN – Jordan Times) AMMAN — Despite the recent announcements regarding the resumption of flight…

(MENAFN – Jordan Times) AMMAN — Despite the recent announcements regarding the resumption of flight operations as of September 8, travel agencies said that they have not been involved in the work system

The work system is instead overshadowed by online platforms designated for booking flights and submitting forms, they said.

During a press conference at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) on September 3, Transport Minister Khaled Saif said that flights would resume in accordance with three classifications regulating arrival to the Kingdom.

‘We were thrilled after six months of total closure of travel and tourism agencies to hear about a comprehensive and well-considered plan that would allow the tourism industry to flourish and resume work. However, the opposite happened. The reopening of the airport was announced, without mentioning the travel agencies’ role in the work plan,’ Head of Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents (JSTA) Mohammad Samih said in a statement made available to The Jordan Times on Sunday.

‘Unfortunately, the government has become the sector’s competitor,’ Samih said in the JSTA statement.

The JSTA met with Tourism Ministry and travel sector representatives on September 6, during which they have discussed the role of travel agencies amid this unprecedented crisis, he said.

Mohammad Abu Surra, director of a travel agency, told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday that he has been working in the tourism industry for about 42 years and the sector has never been in a ‘very difficult situation’.

In his view, he added, the sector is ‘on the brink of collapse’ and the only solution is to appoint a sector representative at the Tourism Ministry.

‘From massive losses in revenues to complete closures, the travel agencies continue to face a gloomy future as there are no signs of recovery, particularly after the government’s e-platform that enables travels to act as their own agents,’ Abu Surra said.

‘This crisis is likely to be worse than all other economic recessions, and what makes the whole situation even worse is the inconsistencies in the statements of official entities, that is frustrating,’ Abu Surra said.

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