Jordan tourism is trying to promote itself as a stable, safe destination while there's so much unrest swirling around it in places like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Highlighting attractions that don't get as much publicity as they should is the tourism board's formula here.
Italian star tenor Andrea Bocelli made a pilgrimage to the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism Monday, praying for peace as he stood on the edge of the River Jordan.
Bocelli, 58, who is blind, was guided by a priest who scooped up river water and poured it over Bocelli’s hands. The artist, a Catholic, made a sign of the cross and the priest recited the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) prayer.
The spot represents the “roots of my faith,” Bocelli told The Associated Press. “”For this reason, it is a very special place. I am very happy to be here. I prayed for peace in the world.”
Bocelli was to perform later Monday at a Roman amphitheater in Jordan’s northern city of Jerash.
Jordan hopes headliners like Bocelli will help revive a tourism industry that had been flagging in recent years amid regional turmoil. The kingdom portrays itself as an island of stability.
Tourism Minister Lina Annab told AP that the baptism site is as important to Jordan tourism as the ancient city of Petra.
“It is very nice to see devout people, especially of the stature of a great artist like Andrea Bocelli, to be coming to this site, and I think it brings a very nice vibe to the place,” she said.
Annab said the spot is “full of harmony, is full of peace, is full of spirituality.” Having someone like Bocelli visit “only adds to the beauty of it,” she said.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: This is the site in Jordan where Jesus is said to have been baptized. Jordan wants to emphasize the site as a tourism attraction. Cycling Man / Flickr.com
New York City Tourism Hopes Rise With Return of Broadway Musicals
Broadway shows are back, as New York City tourism officials look to revived theater as one more big step toward reviving tourism in the Big Apple heading into the fall.
Alicia Powell and Jill Serjeant, Reuters | 2 days ago
Google’s Ticketing for Attractions Off to Rough Start
Google's attractions ticket beta has been among its least elegant in travel to date. This has angered many tour operators because it couldn't have come at a more inopportune time.
Dennis Schaal, Skift | 2 days ago
Singapore Tiptoes Toward Reopening After Country Is 80 Percent Vaccinated
Singapore's pandemic story has been a see-saw tale. The destination is now slowly reopening after vaccines gained traction there. Germany and Brunei get the green light first, with the rest of Asia watching closely.
Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan, Reuters | 2 weeks ago