JORDAN, Jordan — The Jordanian government has opened its first zoo to visitors for the first time in more than a decade, in an attempt to revive its tourism industry.
The zoo, located in the southern city of Sedgwick, is the latest step in the countrys quest to bring back visitors and create jobs.
In January, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jordan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) to open the park, the first of its kind in the kingdom.
Visitors will be able to tour the zoo’s exhibits, meet the animals and watch a movie.
Its opening was expected to generate up to $15 million for the kingdom’s tourism industry, according to Tourism Ministry Director General Yaron Bajnai.
Jordan has not opened any other zoo since 2010, and its tourism numbers have been declining.
The JNTO has estimated that between 1,400 and 2,600 tourists visited Sedgick in the first three months of this year, down from 1,500 the previous year.
The ministry hopes that the opening will spur more tourism and spur tourism spending in the area.
Tourism is Jordan’s top export and accounts for about 80% of its economy.
Tourism is a major part of the kingdoms economy, as well as a major source of foreign exchange.
Jordan’s economy is one of the worlds most popular tourist destinations, but it faces some of the toughest challenges in the Middle East and North Africa.
The countrys population is shrinking and the tourism industry has struggled to attract new foreign visitors.
But Bajnat said that the zoo was the first step in Jordans efforts to revive the tourism sector and create a “new future” for the region.
“This will be the first zoo in Jordan to offer visitors the opportunity to see nature, learn about animals, and enjoy an atmosphere of peace and tranquility,” he said.
According to the JNTE, the zoo will attract about 1,600 visitors a day, but that figure has not been determined.