E-buggies replace horse carts at Jordan’s Petra

The change has however also been hailed for another reason — helping to make the UNESCO World Heritage Site far more accessible to elderly and disabled visitors.

Austrian tourist Rudy, who uses a wheelchair, said he had repeatedly postponed a visit because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and was now “very happy” to have made the trip.

“Disabled people but also people who have difficulty walking for a long distance … now have a chance to see this amazing place.”

A US tourist named Angie, 60, agreed: “It seems a little bit out of character to have these in a beautiful place like this. But at our age, it was nice to come back in an electric cart.”

Jordan’s tourism industry is recovering from the blow of Covid-19, having previously relied on it for more than 10 percent of its GDP. The pandemic slashed revenues from $5.8-billion in 2019 to $1-billion last year.

Petra, Jordan’s most famous tourism site, provides a living for hundreds of families.

The move to replace 12 horse-drawn carriages with 10 e-carts was agreed with the horse owners’ association.

Foreign tourists pay 25 dinars ($35) and Jordanians 15 dinars for the round trip from the visitor centre to the archaeological site.

The association receives 75 percent of the income, while 25 percent goes to the authority, said Farajat.

The head of the association, Mohammad Amarat, said those operating the electric carts earn more than 300 Jordanian dinars (about $423) per month.

One benefit is that the carts can carry five passengers, compared to just two in the horse-drawn carriages.

He prefers the new vehicles because previously the horses “were tired, their income was less, and the journey time was longer”.

– by Mussa Hattar

Source: Einnews

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