A Yemen Times Initiative: COMMITTEE TO SAVE TOURISM [Archives:1999/04/Front Page]

January 25 1999

The economic effects of the recent violence in Yemen has been disastrous to the tourism industry. Many economic activities have suffered, and are now exposed to the risk of bankruptcy. The following are examples:
1. Hotels Suffer:
The large hotels have seen a dramatic drop in their occupancy rates. In some hotels, guests occupy less than 20% of the rooms.
2. Airlines Suffer:
Most of the airlines serving Yemen now fly nearly empty. A European airline flew into Sanaa last week carrying only 28 passengers. Yemenia flew in from Paris last week with only four passengers on board. If this situation persists, services to Sanaa may be canceled.
3. Tour Operators Suffer:
There have been many cancellations of tour groups. Adding insult to injury, some groups simply decided to go to neighboring Saudi Arabia and Oman, whose adjacent regions have terrain and culture similar to those of Yemen.
President Hosni Mubarak, faced with a similar situation after the Luxor tragedy hit Egypt, personally visited the site of the events on the next day and sacked the governor, the minister of the interior, and the director general of security. He invited senior officials, industry entrepreneurs and travel/tourism journalists to discuss the issues. He ordered an immediate international campaign. In less than 6 months, Egypt’s efforts to shore up the tourism industry were successful.
The Yemeni leadership must consider similar steps in order to salvage our tourism industry. In the meanwhile, the Yemen Times decided on an initiative of its own. We propose setting up the Yemen Committee to Save Tourism. Its task would be to prepare an immediate action plan. We hereby invite industry entrepreneurs- decision-makers representing first-class hotels, airline agencies, tourism officers, and tour operators, as well as government officials to a meeting.
The meeting will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 2nd at the Yemen Times. Please call (268-661, ext. 301) to attend.
Yemen Times