On Sunday, His Majesty King Abdullah II was briefed on the Aqaba strategic plan for the next five years, and stressed the importance of working towards making Aqaba a model for modern administration.
The meeting was attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, who has been following up on the implementation of the plan since its launch in the first quarter of this year. Presentations covered the outcomes of the plan in tourism, environment, investment, industry, logistics and capacity building.
King Abdullah listened to a briefing by Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Chief Commissioner, Nayef Bakhit, on mechanisms for implementing the plan, noting that the projects it outlines will enhance tourism, industry, education and technology adoption in the city.
Bakhit noted progress in implementing the tourism component of the plan, including carrying out entertainment activities that contributed to the recovery of the sector and increased the number of visitors, especially with the resumption of low-cost flights.
Turning to capacity building, the chief commissioner cited the implementation of several vocational and technical training programs that have provided job opportunities, said Bakhit. He added that ASEZA is in talks with international tourism and hospitality colleges to establish a college in Aqaba, which would allow the city to become a regional hub in this field.
The King was also briefed on projects currently underway and others in the pipeline. The list includes establishing a medical university, a branch of the King Hussein Cancer Center, and shopping malls, as well as launching a training and employability program targeting 1,000 individuals within a year.
Other projects also include developing the transportation network in Aqaba and connecting it to Petra and Wadi Rum, while facilitating the movement of people and goods.
The meeting also mentioned the new submarine communications cables project launched by Google, which seeks to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa, with Aqaba as the convergence point.
Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi and a number of ministers and officials attended the meeting.
Source: Royal Hashemite Court