First batch of Nigerian Christian pilgrims arrive in Amman, Jordan
The first batch of Nigerian Christian pilgrims arrive Amman, Jordan
A charter flight carrying 267 Nigerian religious tourists landed at the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) on Sunday for an 8-day trip that will include pilgrimage to the Baptism Site and sightseeing of the country’s diverse religious monuments.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and Chairman of the Jordan Tourism Board Nayef al-Fayez said that this visit is of “paramount importance” because the tourists include an official envoy of the Nigerian president, the head of the Evangelical Church, and the president of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission and his assistants.
“Jordan is one of the most important and prominent religious tourism destinations in the world thanks to its religious and civilizational diversity, and the values of tolerance and coexistence”, Al-Fayez stressed.
The minister indicated that the Nigerian tourists’ itinerary will include visits to the Baptism Site in the Jordan Valley and other religious sites, including Tel Mar Elias, Jerash, Umm Qais, Madaba, and Mount Nebo.
Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Imad Hijazin said that today’s arrivals were a culmination of a vigorous effort and a true partnership between the ministries of tourism, interior, and health as well as the private sector.
He noted that these trips mark the beginning of the gradual reopening of the tourism sector, pointing out that Jordan also has a real opportunity to attract tourists from Nigeria for medical tourism as well.
For his part, Director General of the Jordan Tourism Board Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat said that the board is reaching out to new tourist markets, noting “a noticeable interest” in religious tourism, both Islamic and Christian.
Zuhair Muhammad Al-Khashman, CEO of Jordan Aviation, the company that flew the Nigerian tourists to the Kingdom, said that attracting religious tourists from Nigeria is part of the company’s expansion plans in Africa and East Asia.
He pointed out that a contract was signed to fly 5,000 pilgrims from Nigeria during the period from July 24 to September 15.
Al-Khashman indicated that the second phase of Nigerian tourists’ trips to the Kingdom will start next November, expecting that the total number of Nigerian tourists visiting the Kingdom will reach 20,000 in 2021 and 2022, with 250 to 300 tourists per trip.