Friday, 25 June 2010

A few changes at the Baptism Site

As more and more tourists come to Jordan to visit the numerous landmarks, changes need to be made, the sites need to get modernised. In today's Jordan Times there is an article about the Baptism Site. (you can read about my visit here). According to the Baptism Site Commission there has been an increase of 28% in the visits in the beginning of the year compared to last year, which brings the visitors to 73'000 from January to May.

The first change that will affect the tourists is the entrance fee: 12JD instead of 7JD. I think it is quite a jump in price and in my opinion the site commission better ameliorate the experience hugely. A little note here, this is the only site where residents don't get the same discount as Jordanians. Will it be counter productive? I don't know, the people who are visiting this site do it probably only once and because of religious reasons. Having said that, I think that Jordan is starting to realise the moneys that can be made from tourism, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see this happening for more tourist locations - after all it is already the case at Petra as well.

One of the things that is being introduced is audio devices, these will be distributed to the visitors. They will be available in several languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish, German and Russian. This is clearly a good thing: when I visited there was only one guide, explaining the site in English and I honestly didn't get to follow any of it: can you imagine me with Bibs in the arms, trying to take pictures and running after a guide I can't really hear anyways? And I wasn't the only one in this situation. So that is definitely a huge improvement.

Apart from that I don't know what is planned - there is a clear lack of a coffee shop, restrooms on site. Maybe they think about a hostel for pilgrims? When we visited I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see   many of the discovered churches, baptism pools and caves which can be found on site, I certainly hope that visitors will have easier access to that and the accessibility improved. Finally as you exit the site there is a small area with some souvenir shops, this can also use a lifting.

They just need to make sure that the value for money is there...

2 comments:

Elisa, Croatia said...

"...I think that Jordan is starting to realise the moneys that can be made from tourism." Sounds like they are catching up with the rest of the world. Last week we paid 40 kunas/$8 US dollars to visit the amphitheater in Pula. A bit overpriced I would say but then again if it helps for the maintenance of the historial site then I'm all for the charge.

Yikes so no restroom around hu? how far is it from the nearest facility?

Babs said...

i don't mind paying either, if the value is there and that the money goes to the right thing as you say!
there are restrooms where you buy the tickets - but then you take a bus to take you on site and it goes every 30minutes... so not that convenient!

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