Economic boostBuilding a tourism infrastructure [Archives:2005/818/Business & Economy]

February 21 2005

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Tourism in Yemen is considered the second most important sector in terms of the national income following the oil sector.

The capital city of Sana'a and other cities including Aden, Marib, Zabeed and Shebam all contain historic sights dating back thousands of years. These historic parts are recommended to be visited for the sake of investment reasons to achieve the sought goals of declaring 2004 “Year of Tourism”.

The Yemeni government is expending extensive efforts to promote such tourist sights, and upgrade and expand tourism infrastructure.

It has the intention to develop the tourist industry, which has seen rapid growth due to the development of media and the internet.

The studies indicate that in spite of the fact that many countries have recently established travel and tourism markets, the Yemeni market is still promising to attract a great influx of tourists into the country to spend their leisure time, receive treatment in natural baths, or visit areas which show off distinctive biodiversity.

Additionally, numerous tourists visit Yemen to enjoy seeing the folkloric sights and landscapes, religious places and many other fascinating scenes that are classified within the tourism components.

But for 2005 to gain economic landmarks and great influxes of foreign tourists, it will take hard work on the part of the competent bodies to enhance the efforts of tourism industry and activate domestic tourism.

New industry

Tourist experts state that Yemeni tourism is still in need of additional efforts to yield growth for economic development. With the continuing increase in the tourist economy and the rapid rise of domestic and foreign tourism, Yemen will become one of the important tourist targets in the region. The tourist industry does not look like it did several years ago.

Tourist specialists confirm that that declaration of 2005 “Year of Tourism” could expand the base of the national economy and lessen the high unemployment rate through creating more job opportunities. They added that such activities could help improve the living standards of citizens by the implementation of small and medium-sized enterprises and restrict the increasing phenomenon of immigration to big cities.

Tourism mechanisms

Specialists hold the view that there are numerous mechanisms needed to upgrade standards and services of the tourist sector and this can be achieved through evaluating the performance of, for example, hotels.

The evaluation process requires the help of researches and statistical studies conducted for the sake of boosting the tourist sights and upgrading effective strategies including the implementation of projects in the government and private sectors. The process also includes comprehensive promotion strategies as well as public relations strategies to ensure an effective tourist promotion.

In addition, a promotion program is needed to enrich cultural heritage and help the local communities in designing and implementing projects.

The program is expected to play an integral role in creating links between culture and tourist attractions, and it will contribute to renewing the economic and social activities of these communities.

The following objects should be attained:

– Training on how to prepare and sell the tourist programs and promote services for local and international markets.

– The concerned authorities should get acquainted with the important international tourist organizations and conferences, and the necessary procedures for getting licenses related to exercising tourist activities.

– Training the cadre specialized in the booking procedures, passport issuance and air carriage procedures through practicing the tourist promotion tasks on the website and other facilities.

– Studying the systems and by-laws related to travel and tourism, which help control the relation between customers, airways companies and tourism bureaus that possess control of the tourist activities.

Guidelines for visitors

The concerned authorities should work according the international standards of the tourist industry and provide guidelines for foreign visitors. They should seek the help of local specialists to contribute through the consultation of selected individuals from different tourist sights so that the guidelines will be objectively made practicable.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism should raise awareness about tourism among citizens, as it playas an important role in boosting the tourist industry.

Summing up, the Yemeni tourist specialists emphasize the significance of assigning the external tourist market which is expected to be one of the most important exporters for the Yemeni tourism. This objective can be attained through activating the agreements of tourist cooperation between Yemen and the countries of these tourist markets.