Jordan - Tourism, travel, and recreation

The East Bank is an area of immense historical interest, with some 800 archaeological sites, including 224 in the Jordan Valley. Jordan's notable tourist attractions include the Greco-Roman remains at Jerash (ancient Garasi), which was one of the major cities of the Decapolis (the capital, 'Amman, was another, under the name of Philadelphia) and is one of the best-preserved cities of its time in the Middle East. Petra (Batra), the ancient capital of Nabataea in southern Jordan, carved out of the red rock by the Nabataeans, is probably the East Bank's most famous historical site. Natural attractions include the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, which—at 392 m below sea level—is the lowest spot on Earth.

The beaches on the Gulf of Aqaba offer holiday relaxation for Jordanians, as well as tourists. Sports facilities include swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, and bowling alleys. Eastern Jordan has modern hotel facilities in 'Amman and Al-'Aqabah, and there are government-built rest houses at some of the remote points of interest. Tourists are permitted to bring in unlimited foreign currency. Passport and visa are required for entry except for nationals of certain Middle Eastern countries.

In 2000, 1,426,879 tourists arrived in Jordan. Of these arrivals, more than 50% were from other Middle Eastern countries. Tourism receipts totaled $722 million that year. There were 17,485 rooms in hotels and other establishments with 34,433 beds and a 40% occupancy rate in 2000.

In 2000, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in 'Amman at $188 per day. Daily costs elsewhere were about $135.

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