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MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — An inn for Russian Orthodox pilgrims is due to open at the end of this year on the territory of Jordan not far from Wadi Harrar valley – the place where St John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in the waters of the River Jordan, Nayef Al Fayez, the Director General of Jordan Tourism Board /JTB/ said here Monday.
“This is an inn built specially for the Russian pilgrims,” he said. “We plan opening it before the yearend.”
He admitted that the Russians’ interest towards Jordan has slid a little this year versus previous years.
For instance, the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism /Rostourism/ says some 4,000 Russians visited Jordan from January through to June 2011 versus the 5,000 or so tourists who went there in the same period a year ago.
Al Fayez said ‘A Jordanian Week’ has started off in Moscow. The road show will then move on to another four Russian cities – Samara, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, and St Petersburg, each of them having a population of over a million people.
“In the course of this action, we plan holding workshops and conferences presenting Jordan’s tourist opportunities,” he said. “Also, we’ll have talks with Russian tour industry executives and possibly sign some agreements.”
According to the statistics provided by Rostourism, the total number of Russians who traveled to Jordan as tourists last year stood at 10,204.
Inbound tourism accounts for 14% of Jordan’s Gross Domestic Product. The country boasts well-developed religious and recuperation tourism of all kinds.
Especially popular with the Russians are the beaches of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea and the ancient town of Petra, which UNESCO has entered in its list of world cultural heritage sites.