Report reflects improving financial picture as regional tensions ease
Jordan’s King Abdullah received the government achievements report for 2017 from Prime Minister Hani Mulki, the Royal Court announced on Sunday. Among the highlights were a 15 percent reduction in the budget deficit compared to 2016 and healthier government revenues, which were 7.7 per cent higher than 2016. The country also witnessed an improved financial self-reliance ratio (local revenues’ coverage of current expenditure), which amounted to 95 percent in 2017, compared with 90 per cent in 2016.
Although economic performance was described as “modest”, real GDP grew a regionally comparable by 2 per cent during the first three quarters of 2017, while national exports increased by 1.5 per cent. This was offset by a trade deficit that increased by 9.7 per cent during the first 11 months of 2017.
Among the sectors that looked the most positive was the all-important tourism sector, which has suffered as regional crises made the country less attractive to international visitors. Tourism income increased by 12.5 per cent to $4.6 billion in 2017 on the back of an 8.7 per increase in visitors to the Kingdom, which totalled 5.2 million in the year.
Jordan also ranked among the top 50 countries in the World Security and Safety Index, attracting tourism, moving up two spots on the global tourism scale. Foreign direct investment increased by 19.1 per cent during the first three quarters of 2017.
The Kingdom has been listed as one of the top 2018 tourism destinations by many international travel magazines such as National Geographic, Vogue (USA), Sunday Times (UK), Conde Nast (UK) and The Guardian.