In the aftermath of the
Arab Spring and the recent civil war in Syria, tourism in the Middle East has
been in decline. In Jordan, a country in which tourism has historically
contributed about 20% of GDP, the number of visitors has fallen 66% since 2011,
resulting in a decrease in investments.
Along the eastern coast of
the Dead Sea, an abandoned construction site for a luxury resort stands, a
ghost of an euphoric past. The concrete is washed by the heavy sun, overlooking
the disputed West Bank on the other side of the sea.
In Petra, the Nabatean
archeological site claimed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the
number of visitors has been rising in recent years. In the vastness of the
desert, lonely encounters with banal objects and 1600 year old tombs carved in
the rocks are common.