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There's more to see than just Holy Land

When the Jordanians lost the West Bank of the Jordan River to the Israelis during the 1967 war, Jordan lost control of a key tourism draw - the Holy Land. In the years since the 1967 war, the bridges that link the Jordanian east bank with the Israeli-occupied West Bank have remained open and the Jordanian tourist industry has continued to benefit from Jordan's proximity to Jerusalem and other religious and historic sites. To a great extent Jordan still serves as a ''gateway to the Holy Land.''

But the Jordanians have been working since 1967 to develop a tourist industry independent of the West Bank sites. In the past 16 years the number of hotels in Jordan has increased from 17 to more than 85.

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Tourism contributes about 15 percent of Jordan's national income, an important share for a country with few resources and a chronic trade deficit. The government is encouraging increased private investment in east bank tourist sites, with the expectation of raising income from tourism from $572 million in 1980 to more than $1 billion by 1985.

The campaign has taken two tacks: stressing Jordan's archaeological treasures and promoting the southern port, Aqaba, as a winter resort. Jordan attracted about 1.5 million vacationers a year in the early 1980s, between 60 and 70 percent of them Arabs and about 13 percent Europeans and Americans. The 1982-83 season, however, has been far below expectation in both visitors and revenues. Officials ascribe the drop-off to Israel's invasion of Lebanon and to misconceptions that Jordan was in or near the line of fire.

''Whenever there is a political eruption or a war we find that tourism is the first industry to be affected,'' says Michael Hamarneh, director general of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

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