In the last few days, I’ve been – as many of you may also be – devastated by the news coming out of the Middle East. Whether you are more supportive of one group or another, for any reason, the loss of human life and extreme violence we’re watching is heartbreaking and will be long remembered in the history books.
This site doesn’t typically focus on anything to do with Jordan’s neighbors. After all, many of them are difficult or unsafe to visit in the first place! Jordan is, in many ways, a bastion of peace and stability in a region that has long been tumultuous; this is one of my favorite reasons for encouraging visitors to travel to Jordan, since it can show you this part of the world in a safe, meaningful, and memorable way.
But Jordan is neighbors with Israel and Palestine, and has welcomed millions of refugees over the past eighty years. What’s happening to the east of Jordan does impact the Hashemite Kingdom itself, and you may be wondering if it’s safe to visit Jordan given the current political climate of the Middle East and direct conflict/military action in Gaza.
To try and help you decide whether visiting Jordan is still a good idea, I’ve put together this guide which covers the current situation in Jordan, the official guidance from the Jordanian government as well as other common countries readers like you might call home, and my own final thoughts and advice to help you decide what’s right for you. As always, I can try to help in the comments below, too. Safe travels, whenever you make them.
Current Situation in Jordan
As of writing, what’s happening for visitors – and local Jordanians – on the ground has not been dramatically affected by the military action in Gaza. Flights to and from Jordan are still operating normally, and there are no disruptions to the main tourism areas of the country (Amman, Aqaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea are the big five).
Currently, the border to Israel is still open for travelers, though you should expect delays and extremely heightened security in both directions. There have been peaceful demonstrations in support of Palestine within Jordan, but these have been localized and organized – and it means travel plans can be adjusted.
So in brief, travel in Jordan is not that different now than it was a few weeks ago. But does that mean it’s safe to visit Jordan right now?
Official Guidance from Jordan
In the days following the escalation of military action in Gaza, the Jordan Tourism Board released a statement to help travelers understand whether Jordan is “open” for visitors:
The Jordan Tourism Board said in a statement: “In light of the recent developments in Gaza, we want to emphasise (sic) that Jordan continues to be a safe and welcoming destination for tourists from around the world.
Our commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all visitors remains unwavering.
We want to reassure everyone that Jordan’s borders are open to tourists, and we are eager to share our extraordinary experiences with the world.
We understand that tensions around the world can raise concerns, but we believe in the power of travel to foster understanding and build bridges between nations.
As always, the Jordan Tourism Board is here to assist and support tourists in making the most of their visit.
Of course, it’s worth taking this statement with a grain of salt, right? The Jordan Tourism Board is about encouraging tourism in Jordan – that means they have an interest in encouraging visitors to continue with their travel plans…
But I will say that I personally trust that the Jordanian government/tourism board would not be encouraging visitors if they didn’t feel you could be kept safe while there. Of course, there are no safety guarantees while traveling, but as I’ve traveled to Jordan when my own government was discouraging visits (but Jordan still welcomed tourists) and had a great time, I feel confident that Jordan itself is best capable of assessing their ability to keep tourists safe.
Speaking of my own country and what they have to say…
Stance of the US/Canada/UK Governments
According to the U.S. Department of State, Jordan is currently at “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.”
Here are the specific suggestions provided in that warning:
Do not travel to:
- Within 3.5 km of the Jordanian border with Syria and east of the town of Ruwayshid in the direction of the border with Iraq due to terrorism and armed conflict.
- Designated Syrian refugee camps in Jordan due to Government of Jordan restrictions on entry into these camps.
- Zarqa, Rusayfah, and the Baqa’a neighborhood of Ayn Basha due to terrorism and crime.
Reconsider travel to:
- Ma’an City and some areas of Ma’an Governorate due to terrorism and crime.
As you can see, there is no specific guidance about Israel or Palestine at all; even the U.S. Department of State does not consider this a reason to not visit Jordan yet.
On the other hand, the Government of Canada does specifically mention the current situation:
They specifically advise against all travel to the border with Syria, the border with Iraq, and Northeastern Jordan (east of Ruwaished), and recommend against non-essential travel to any refugee camps.
There’s an additional section about the “Situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” which talks about how – while the border is currently open – the situation is incredibly dynamic and may change quickly to affect your travel plans.
Lastly, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office doesn’t explicitly recommend against travel to Jordan but does have several sections and pages about the current political situation in Israel/Palestine and how travelers should stay aware of these developments and be flexible if the situation changes.
To me, this underscores the point that you can still safely visit Jordan. I just recommend registering with the appropriate foreign database for international travel (such as the U.S. STEP program) so that your home country is aware of your Jordan travel plans and can support you if needed.
So, Is It Safe to Visit Jordan Right Now?
Up to this point, all of my suggestions have been based on the advice of political and governmental organizations… and that only goes so far. At the end of the day, the decision is up to you and your personal comfort level.
On my own scale of comfort, I would not change any travel plans if I already had flights and other logistics arranged to visit Jordan at this time. If I were just starting to plan my trip and didn’t have dates or other details set/paid for, I might wait to plan my trip further in the future – just because the situation is so dynamic and may change/disrupt plans later.
But again, the most I can give you is the official guidance and my personal input. In the end, the decision is yours, and I hope that if you decide to cancel or postpone your plans, you will visit Jordan at some point in the future. It’s an incredible place and your trip will be memorable and safe (inshallah), whenever you make it.
Have any other questions about whether it’s safe to visit Jordan right now? Let me know in the comments below.