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Wed 7 Mar 2007 03:42 PM

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Uproar over Jordan's 'deviant' visa law

Proposed restrictions on female visitors have been abandoned, say sources.

The new travel regulation from Jordan's Interior Ministry asking women from several Eastern European and Mediterranean countries to apply for visas before entering the country was withdrawn by the government last night, according to the Jordan Tourism Board.

"The new regulation was cancelled late yesterday because there were many rejections from the tourism sector," said Suha Halafeh, media manager at the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB).

Ms. Halafeh explained that the country receives a great number of tourists every day and that the tourism industry was unhappy with the Interior Ministry's decision.

Neither the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities nor the Tourism Police in Jordan would confirm the reports when contacted by ArabianBusiness.com.

The JTB was one of the voices criticising the proposed law. The law would have required 17-40 year old female nationals from Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Algeria, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Morocco and Tunisia, to obtain a visa before entering Jordan.

The reason behind the proposed law was not made explicit by the Ministry of Interior, but some have attributed it to a perception that young women from these countries may 'engage in deviant behaviour'. The Jordan Times has suggested that the move was part of efforts to 'cut down on vice'.

JTB Deputy Managing Director Fayez Khoury told the Jordan Times today: "The East European market is an especially significant market for Jordan... Tourists from East Europe, particularly Russia, travel frequently... most of them are young and they are big spenders."

The Jordan Times also said that representatives of the travel and tourism sector who deal directly with the affected markets were caught off guard by the news and warned that the regulation would have serious ramifications on the industry.

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IQBAL EBRAHIM 13 years ago

Not a big deal should Jordan have removed visa restrictions.Having a visa does not necessarily mean having the right of entry into a country, It is just a way of countries making quick money out of developing countries when in fact these countries should be directing visa requirements to the so called first world countries as the latter require nationals of these countries to apply for visas! What irony! As a safeguard, Jordan could ensure that these visitors are in possession of a valid passport, a return or onward ticket and proof of accommodation whilst in Jordan. Regards, Iqbal

Gloria Burler 13 years ago

Having a visa before entry or upon entry does not control deviant behaviour. This is under control of the person themselves. Any country should have the right to stop certain nationalities if they feel their behaviour is detremental to the communal norm