AMMONNEWS - Three cruise ships carrying around 6,000 European tourists docked in Aqaba port on Wednesday, according to an official from Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA).
As well as spending time in Aqaba, the tourists' itinerary included other destinations in the 'Golden Triangle', the triumvirate of Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum, Sharhabeel Madi, ASEZA commissioner for economic development and investment affairs, told The Jordan Times.
ASEZA supports the tourism sector by 'doing everything possible' to facilitate the safety and security of visitors, Madi added.
The tourists were received at the port by cadres of ASEZA and other concerned agencies, where a group headed north to visit Petra and Wadi Rum, while a large number spent their time in the port city.
Towards the end of 2017, Aqaba, some 330km south of Amman, is expected to receive up to 50,000 tourists, as part of the cruise ships' programme, according to the official, who added that the number includes only cruise ship visitors.
Compared to the first quarter of the previous year, the number of cruise ship visitors in the same period of 2017 has witnessed a slight increase, said Madi.
While in Petra, cruise ship tourists tour the ancient city for half a day, before going to Wadi Rum, where they typically take a 2 to 4-hour jeep tour, followed by dinner in a bedouin camp.
Aqaba is Jordan's only sea gate, sharing the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba with Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.