The town of Aqaba and the short strip of coast on which it lies represent Jordan’s only access to the sea. This makes Aqaba a strategic location for a range of sectors in the economy, including transport, logistics and industry. Aqaba is also a premier tourism destination, boasting the highest number of hotel nights outside of the capital. Furthermore, its tourism capacity is set to be expanded by three real estate mega-projects, namely the Ayla, Saraya and Marsa Zayed developments. The projects will see numerous hotels and residential units built, as well as the extension of the coastline. However, as in the rest of the country, the local tourism sector has recently been negatively affected by regional instability and the eurozone crisis. Development and growth will continue to depend on this and other external factors such as the national economy, the regional real estate market, and the political and security situation in neighbouring countries.
This chapter includes an interview with Nasser Madadha, Chief Commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority; and Chairman of the Board of the Aqaba Development Corporation.