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December 23, 1994 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-23

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Competition Or

Israel's tourism industry may be hurt by the peace treaty with Jordan.


urify your soul on your pil-
grimage to Jerusalem. Get
there across the River Jor-
dan," reads a full-page ad-
vertisement which recently
appeared in the European edi-
tions of both Time and
The ad, which shows
Jerusalem, seems to confirm the
fears of those who say Israel has
everything to lose and nothing
to gain from the tourism provi-
sions in the treaty with Jordan.
By using Jerusalem and the
land of the Bible as their draw-
ing card, critics say, the Jorda-
nians will be able to attract more
tourists, who will spend less time
and money in Israel
"Jordan has no sites for the
(Christian) pilgrim," says Yossi
Grau, chairman of the Israel
Tourist Guides Association. He
foresees a situation in which pil-
grims will land in Amman, tour
Jordan, then come to Israel,
where they will travel on Pales-
tinian-owned buses, with Pales-
tinian guides.
Mr. Grau says that as a result
of combined tours of Israel and
Jordan, pilgrims and tourists
will spend fewer nights in Israel.
It is no secret, he says, that


Royal Jordanian airlines can
charge lower fares because it is
subsidized by the Saudi Arabi-
Whether Mr. Grau's warnings
are true or not, Royal Jordanian
is offering a 10-day "Lands of the
Bible" tour of Jordan, Israel and
Egypt, described recently in the
Los Angeles Times.
The price — $1,849 per per-
son from New York, including
airfare, travel, accommodation,
breakfast and dinner — seems
to be very attractive.
According to Munib Tokan,
Royal Jordanian's public rela-
tions director, the airline has
about 1.5 million passengers a
year. In comparison, El Al has
about 2.2 million passengers a
Mr. Tokan says Royal Jor-
danian has always marketed
Jordan as the gateway to the
Holy Land. The airline's officials
are very optimistic about the in-
crease of this traffic as a result
of peace with Israel, he says.
"We are ready for an increase
of up to 40 percent, and we are
also ready technically (with fa-
cilities and planes to handle the
increase)," he maintains.
Although he could not give fig-

ures as to the number of pas-
sengers who use the airline to
visit Israel as well as Jordan, he
said it could be assumed that
most of the American and Eu-
ropean passengers are in this
About 14 percent of Royal Jor-
danian's passengers are Ameri-
cans, while 40 percent are
Europeans, he says.
This would mean, according
to Mr. Tokan's calculations, that
over 800,000 tourists come to Is-
rael from Jordan annually. But
the Tourism Ministry figures
show a far smaller number.
According to the ministry, in
1993 a total of 256,824 tourists
entered Israel by land, a figure
which includes those who came
from Egypt as well as Jordan.
The projected number for 1994
is 222,157.
Chuzi Amiel of Amiel Tours,
one of Israel's largest companies
dealing with incoming tourism,
rejects the idea that Royal Jor-
danian is stealing tourists from
Israel. On the contrary, he sees
the airline as another way to
bring in visitors.
"We have peace with Jordan,
and the challenge is to bring as
TOURISM page 32

to Jap
week will l 4 6
Wining 'landing rig
Mr. Rabin diss ect
ation agreement with
The JaPanese have reject


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