Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018
ROME

Aqaba dresses for the holidays with native Jordanian flora

English
© ANSA

Rome, December 20 - The water in Jordan's port
city of Aqaba is so clear that the precious coral reef thriving
70 meters underwater is visible from the shore. 'It almost looks
like it is painted,' Jordanian architect, professor and Head
Commissioner of ASEZA (Aqaba Special Economic Zone) Kamel O.
Mahadin tells ANSA.
Mahadin gazes at the reef every day on his way to work.
His pride and joy, the Aqaba development area, is a liberalized,
low-tax, duty-free area that has its sights on becoming a
world-class hub for business and leisure, and boasts of a
landscape that has inspired poets and filmmakers.
Right now, the blend of desert and sea is dressed up for
the holidays.
'All around we have put up lights and decorations...at
night it looks like the town has been sprinkled with stars,'
Mahadin enthuses.
The most stunning embellishment, believes Mahadin, is
neither imported nor created, it is the native flora.
'This corner of the Mediterranean landscapes itself,' says
Mahadin, who also has a degree in landscape architecture.
Developers have, in fact, utilized the land's assets and lined
the roads with native date palms, or nakheel in Arabic, and
acacia and Royal Poinciana. Water from the region's largest
treatment plant irrigates the entire development area that is
proudly pollution-free.
The city's eight 5-star hotels and 2,000 family-oriented
structures expect an occupancy rate of about 90% over the
holidays. Easily accessible to the Middle East, Asia and Europe,
last year around 100,000 Italians travelled to Aqaba.
Located on the Red Sea, it is a stone's throw away from the
Petra archeological site and Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley
of the Moon, and a 26-minute boat ride to Egypt.
There is no end to activities, but diving should be high
on the list, says Mahadin.
'There are crash courses for shallow-water diving and 47
different companies to choose from. It is the best way to see
the coral reef and 20% of diving fees goes to preserving the
environment'.
Though the Aqaba development is a perfect year-round
tourist and holiday destination, it is also home to 135,000
permanent residents.
'In winter, the sky is beyond compare...the sunset blends
with the colors of the coral reef. I am loving this place,' says
Mahadin.

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