Rome, March 22 - Direct flights between the Jordanian port city of Aqaba and Istanbul are to begin in 2013, giving millions of Turkish and international travelers direct access to Jordan's Red Sea resort. The route, projected by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) and USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project, will give millions of travelers direct access to Aqaba, a burgeoning multi-sector development zone located on the Red Sea and just a stone's throw away from some of the region's most famous tourist sites. "Aqaba being a Jordanian City enjoys a rich culture and heritage in addition to its strategic location as part of the golden tourism triangle that embraces Aqaba with the Red Sea crystal clear water, Petra one of the Wonders of the World and Wadi Rum which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with other unique tourism attributes," Chief Commissioner of ASEZA Professor Kamel Mahadin said. "Investors in the tourism sector in both Jordan and Turkey could dip into this as a valuable opportunity to enhance and develop cooperation". Organized and implemented by USAID, the project is part of continued efforts to help increase the number of visitors to Jordan in order to revive tourism activity in the country. The liberalized, low-tax, duty-free area of Aqaba directly employees over 35,000 Jordanians to date. In addition, planned hotel developments in Aqaba are expected to create more than 7,000 jobs over the next five years. The launch of Turkish Airlines Aqaba flights marks the first foreign international network carrier to make scheduled flights to Aqaba airport and the liberalized, low-tax, duty-free area that has its sights on becoming a world-class hub for business and leisure, easily accessible to the Middle East, Asia and Europe.