- by Haneen Nofal
in Latest News
AMMAN — A new wave of luxurious camps have been spreading across Wadi Rum, contributing to attracting more tourists to the protected area, also known as the “valley of the moon”.
Officials and camp owners in the area commended the new trend of camps, known as ‘bubble camps’, voicing hope that number of tourists to the protected area will increase significantly in the near future.
Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Vice Chief Commissioner Imad Hijazin said this trend has been spreading in Wadi Rum, Petra and the Dead Sea.
“This definitely helps boost tourism in the area. In 2018, a total of 200,000 tourists visited Wadi Rum and that was breaking a record,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone on Thursday.
Naser Zawaydah, the director of the Wadi Rum Reserve, said shooting “the Martian” movie in Jordan inspired people to establish such camps.
“The location of the movie also became among the main attractions in the area for tourists. These camps are first class camps and they are very luxurious compared with other normal camps in the area,” he told The Jordan Times.
He said that design of these camps adds a “unique atmosphere” for tourists, which enables them to see the desert and stars in the evening while being in the camp in a safe and private way.
“Summer time used to be a slow business season in the area in the past. This new kind of camp contributes to increasing the number of tourists. In April 2016, only 6,000 visitors entered the area while a total of 36,000 people visited Wadi Rum in April, 2018,” he said.
Sultan Nawafleh, the founder of Sun City Camp, which was the first camp to open in the area, said that luxurious camps like this encourage tourists to visit Wadi Rum at any time of year.
“No tourists used to visit Wadi Rum during January and February. Now all of that has changed with these well-equipped camps. The occupancy rate during January and February this year was 70 per cent,” he added.
Nawafleh said all these “bubble camps” are located inside the Wadi Rum Reserve, adding that a total of 40 camps that range from normal to luxurious are located in the reserve.
Ingrid Dost, who has visited Jordan many times, said that both options “normal and luxurious” are interesting to experience.
“I think both options are interesting. I wanted to have a bubble first, for I wanted to see the stars and sleep like being outside,” the German tourist said.