DAS MAGAZIN FÜR URBANE SEILBAHNEN

Joran


A cableway against unemployment

A plan to build a cableway in the Jordanian town of Ajloun has been repeatedly discussed by the Investment Committee JIC since 2015. Concrete plans for the - nancing and construction of the eagerly awaited installation should be nally submitted this year.

 

Ajloun is a wellknown hiking and rec- reational resort. Its mountains o er a variety of sports activities and the famous Ajloun Castle ruin attracts large numbers of culture-fans every year. Local statistics also show, however, that the unemployment rate in this hilly town in north Jordan is high, too, some ve percent above the national average. If things work out the way JIC members plan, a cable car could counteract this development in the future.

View of the town of Ajloun from Ajloun castle. Photo: Daniel Case, CC BY 3.0 de

 

The planned installation, which would start from the heart of the Ajloun Development Zone, should act as “business enabler” by providing better connection to the offerings of the town center for more than 5,000 households with extremely low income.

 

Bilal Qudah, one of the JIC members, says that it’s not necessary for the cable car to be pro table so long as it helps to make the area more attractive for tourists and, consequent- ly, boosts the local economy. For many, this cable car project is seen as a solution to a very serious problem.

 

“Cableways would be an awesome tourist attraction here in Jordan and local vendors, such as res- taurants, hotels, and markets, could be connected with one another by cooperating with various tourist offices,” said Qudah. “It is not the cableway project itself that should be seen as something special in Ajloun, rather the business that it will bring to the area,” he added.

Ajloun cable car


Length: approx. 3km

Travel time:       approx. 20 minutes

Number of cabins:  40 if needed, 60

Cabin capacity: 8 pers.

 

Tourism


In 2018, Ajloun was visited by some 250,000 tourists, of whom 61,000 came from abroad. The public park alone was visited by around two mil- lion people during this time, making the residents from the region hopeful that the long-expected tourism boom has nally started. “Ajloun needs this project to be able to create new jobs and once again play the tourism card.

 

The town has lost much of its signi - cance and appeal for both locals and tourists over the last two decades,” says the president of the Ajloun Development Zone, Hamzeh haj hassan. “Our initial estimate is that, with the construction of the cable car, the number of tourists will at least double. Local residents will have a new lo- cation to frequent and tourists a new destination to visit and, perhaps, even spend the night at,” says Haj Hassan.

 

There are three hotels in Ajloun, none of which is a ve-star hotel, but people here are optimistic and believe that if such accommodations were built, the city would compare with other attractions in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, such as the Red Sea, the Jabal al-Qala‘a (Amman Citadel) ruins, or the Port of Aqaba. The planned cable car installation should be equipped with 40 8-passenger cabins o ering an “exclusive” view of the Ajloun Castle.

 

If needed, it will be possible to add more cabins (up to a total of 60). The ride over a distance of some three kilometers should take around 20 minutes each way. In an interview with a local Jordanian newspaper, Haj Hassan said that the bidding is in full swing and eligible companies will be able to launch the project soon. Construction is expect- ed to take 18 months.

 

Further invest- ment projects should be implemented in the region during this period as well. The Prime Minister con rmed that hotels, a conference hall, shops, restaurants and chalets are planned to be built in parallel to the implementation of the cableway project in Ajloun. In an interview with the Jordan Times, Qudah stated that so far the JIC had received three o ers from European companies to nance and build the installation in return for a share in the pro ts.

 

But the size of the shares remains unclear as the JIC has not selected any company yet. In the meantime, however, the project has to overcome another obstacle. One part of the area necessary for the construction of the cableway’s nine towers is privately owned and, to date, it has been impossible to reach an agreement on further action with its owner. tm