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19,000 visitors come to Petra during Eid al-Adha

Around 19,000 tourists visited Jordan's ancient city of Petra during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, local daily The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.


"Tourist traffic during the Eid was very good. The majority of visitors were foreigners on package tours, but we had a considerably good turnout of Jordanians who took advantage of the long holiday to spend time here," said Ahmad Nasarat, who heads the Petra Visitors Center, on Monday.


About 3,270 Jordanians visited Petra during the vacation, official figures showed, of which around 75 percent were families while the rest were couples and young people, said Nasarat.


Attracting between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors daily, the ancient city, about three hours of drive south of Amman, is currently Jordan's most popular site among foreign travelers.


A total of 100,000 tourists visited the ancient city of Petra during the month of October alone, according to the Ministry of Tourism, with some 645,000 visitors in the first 10 months of the year.


Petra generated a revenue of 12.643 million Jordanian dinars ( 17.857 million U.S. dollars) this year, or 82 percent of the overall revenue from the kingdom's tourist sites, according to the World Trade Organization.


Petra is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. It is renowned for its rock-cut architecture and has been listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site.


(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2008)