Cruising to Jordan


For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999.

Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. After a two-year delay, parliamentary and municipal elections took place in the summer of 2003. The prime minister appointed in December 2005 said the government would focus on political reforms, improving conditions for the poor, and fighting corruption.


Location: Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 31 00 N, 36 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 92,300 sq km


26 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 3 nm


Mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)


Mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
Highest point: Jabal Ram 1,734 m


Jordan is a small Arab country with inadequate supplies of water and other natural resources such as oil. Debt, poverty, and unemployment are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. 'Amman in the past three years has worked closely with the IMF, practiced careful monetary policy, and made substantial headway with privatization.

The government also has liberalized the trade regime sufficiently to secure Jordan's membership in the WTO (2000), a free trade accord with the US (2001), and an association agreement with the EU (2001). These measures have helped improve productivity and have put Jordan on the foreign investment map. Jordan imported most of its oil from Iraq, but the US-led war in Iraq in 2003 made Jordan more dependent on oil from other Gulf nations, forcing the Jordanian Government to raise retail petroleum product prices and the sales tax base.

Jordan's export market, which is heavily dependent on exports to Iraq, was also affected by the war but recovered quickly while contributing to the Iraq recovery effort. The main challenges facing Jordan are reducing dependence on foreign grants, reducing the budget deficit, and creating investment incentives to promote job creation.


Airports: 17 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 15
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 2
Heliports: 1 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 10 km; oil 743 km (2004)
Railways: total: 505 km
Roadways: total: 7,364 km

Merchant marine

Total: 26 ships (1000 GRT or over) 218,685 GRT/218,795 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 9, container 2, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 6
Foreign-owned: 12 (UAE 12)
Registered in other countries: 14 (The Bahamas 2, Panama 12) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Al 'Aqabah

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Bahrain - Christmas Islands - Cocos Keeling - Comoros - Djibouti - Eritrea - India - Jordan - Kenya - Kuwait - Madagascar - Maldives - Mauritius - Mayotte - Mozambique - Oman - Pakistan - Qatar - Reunion Island - Saudi Arabia - Seychelles - Somalia - Sri Lanka - Sudan - Tanzania - United Arab Emirates - Yemen

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"