His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein Ibn Abdullah II, on Tuesday, September 12, visited the Fortress of Machaerus, and called for developing and protecting this touristic site.
King Abdullah listened to a briefing by Tourism Minister Makram Queisi on the tourism development plan of the Fortress of Machaerus and Madaba.
Minister Queisi said the Fortress of Machaerus is a touristic attraction that carries historical and religious importance, since it is among the five sites on the Vatican-approved Christian pilgrimage trail, which also includes the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ, Mount Nebo, the Church of Our Lady of the Mountain, and Mar Elias.
He noted that the ministry completed the first phase of the Christian pilgrimage trail, which extends for 16 kilometres between Mount Nebo and the Baptism Site, and is currently studying implementation of the second phase, which would extend for 30 kilometers between Mount Nebo and the Fortress of Machaerus.
The minister said the Fortress of Machaerus has witnessed a remarkable 600 percent surge in the number of visitors, compared to the same period of 2022, highlighting that the ministry is working on improving services and infrastructure at the site.
On the other hand, His Majesty King Abdullah visited Madaba on Tuesday, September 12, and met with a number of local community leaders in the governorate.
At the meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein Ibn Abdullah II, King Abdullah said Madaba has great potential in tourism and agriculture, calling for devising a plan, in partnership with the local community, to develop these sectors and alleviate poverty and unemployment.
His Majesty urged more focus on agriculture in Madaba and in Dhiban District, especially wheat and grain cultivation, to enhance Jordan’s food security.
The King stressed the need to improve services for tourists in order to extend their stay, especially to meet the rise in the number of Madaba visitors, which doubled compared to last year.
Attendees expressed appreciation for His Majesty’s directives to move forward with modernization, his keenness on enhancing the quality of services for Jordanians, and his positions in support of the Palestinians and commitment to the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, highlighting some of Madaba’s needs and concerns.
For his part, Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said the government seeks to develop the Fortress of Machaerus as a key tourist destination and to connect it to the Baptism Site, as part of the Vatican-approved Christian pilgrimage trail, adding that the government is studying introducing more incentives for investors at the industrial city in Madaba.
Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi said projects that were implemented in Madaba as part of Royal initiatives have so far exceeded JD23 million in value, covering education, youth empowerment, health care, and social and municipal services, in addition to supporting productive projects.
Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan, Adviser to His Majesty for Tribal Affairs Atef Hajaya, Interior Minister Mazen Farraya, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti, Public Security Directorate Director Maj. Gen. Obaidallah Maaytah, and Madaba Governor Nayef Hedayat attended the meeting.