A press conference on tourism [Archives:2004/777/Community]

September 30 2004

By Adel Al-Khawlani
Yemen Times Staff

On the occasion of World Tourism Day September 27th, a press conference on Tourism in Yemen, its domains and barriers, was run last Monday at the Open Air Theater in the old city of Sana'a.
Before holding the conference, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Khaled Al-Ruwaishan inaugurated the tourist exhibition. Then, he along with the Secretary of the Ministry for the Tourism Sector, Nabeel Al-Faqeeh walked through the exhibition which contains historical and hand-made articles from Yemeni heritage and grains of various kinds of Yemeni crops such as wheat, corn and beans. Many societies, such as Al-Takamul Development Society, participate in the one-week exhibition with various traditional hand-made materials.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism then delivered speech to open the conference, in which he stated that such functions are exerted in the framework of the Arab Conference for Joint Handicrafts (ACJH) that is to be held on October 2nd 2004.
“Yemen is one of the countries of the world that has witnessed vital progress in its tourism field. Yemen has numerous tourist sights and the weather in Yemen is also considered as conducive to tourism. The Ministry of Culture & Tourism represented by the Tourist Marketing Department, is working harder than it has done in the past 10 years to boost the tourism industry in Yemen. This is clearly seen from the reconstruction of tourist hotels in many Yemeni cities”, said Al-Ruwaishan, adding that the state is interested in the tourist sector considering it as a main source of income for the government, and the population as well. He added though that the construction of hotels is the task of the private sector and not the government.
When asked about the rate of tourism development, the number of tourists visiting the country and Yemen's participation in the Top Resa exhibition in France, the Minister replied, in a statement to the Yemen Times, that the rate of tourism rose by 121% and hotel accommodation by 109%. According to statistics of 2003, the number of tourists amounted up to 154,000 last year. Yemen is planning to participate in the tourist exhibition in the Top Resa and the Yemeni representative is now taking part in an exhibition in Japan. After completing his task, he will head for France to represent Yemen there.
The Secretary of the Ministry for the Tourism Sector stated that tourism in Yemen has suffered for sometime due to regional security problems, in spite of the fact that the Ministry has published many tourist marketing pamphlets and manuals.
In his answer to a question about making movies which play an important role in attracting tourists to the country, Al-Faqeeh said, “it is impossible for us to make movies before providing adequate information about Yemeni heritage and the attractive views of cities like Shabwa and Hadramaut. The role of movies is secondary since we can compensate for it by the reconstruction of hotels.”