French pressmen promote Yemeni tourism [Archives:2005/877/Culture]

September 15 2005

A group of ten French pressmen, representing different media outlets, have recently arrived in Yemen on a one-week visit. Invited by the Tourism Promotion Board (TPB) an affiliate of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the pressmen are planning to conduct a promotional campaign in France by featuring the great assets of the Yemeni society.

The program of their stay in Yemen includes trips to many cities and sites around the country including Hajja, Shibam Kawkaban, Haraz mountains, Hodeidah, Zabid, Taiz, etc.

Yemen is mythically famous:

“The name of Yemen is quite famous,” said Christophe Pinguet, Editor-in-Chief in Voyage TV. Along with two colleagues of his – Jean Marc Chavet and Vincent Chaffard, he is shooting a one hour documentary that depicts the real face of Yemen which compels “amazement”. “”We imagine things about Yemen but what we see is far more sublime.” He admits that Yemen is a fantastic tourist destination and Yemen is famous around the world because its name is mentioned in mythology but a few people visited it in reality. To boost tourism, he recommends that infrastructure should be provided for but most importantly, Yemen's image in the West should be upgraded.

“Sometimes this image gets tarnished due to what is going on in the area as a whole. Travel alerts are consequently and this affects Yemen's tourism although it is a safe country with friendly people.” He cited one of his experiences the couple of days in the Old City of Sana'a that when he was strolling on sightseeing down the street, a Yemeni man invited him to a wedding. “It is hardly found in any other place.”

He recommends taking care of trekking and making the utmost use of the present infrastructure, training more staff for tourism to be efficient guides and providers of tourist services and exploiting sea tourism.

He emphasizes what Yemen Times mentioned in this page last issue that Yemen is in need for “cultural tourism rather than mass tourism, because the former does not require much infrastructure but is lucrative.”

Mr. Pinguet will interview tourism officials, tourist agents and even French archeologists working in Yemen.

Three months ago, two journalists from Voyage TV came to Yemen to make research in preparation for the documentary and now the three men are here to shoot. Ttitled “Yemen Destination,” the film is expected to narrate ten stories, five minutes each along with commentary, photos and interviews. Some 1.5-2.5 million people are anticipated to view the film in Europe.

In love with Yemen:

Another man on the media group is Sebastien Ledoux who is so enchanted with the Yemeni people that he is going to author a book on the country. “Mainly people are the key thing about Yemen. Friendly, respectful, hospitable. Yemen is a problem-free country.” He reminiscently described his first voyage into Yemen four years ago. “I came from Oman, namely from Salalah, crossing borders on my own car. I traveled down the country passing through Mahra, Hadhramout, Central Yemen, then Sana'a and I left the country via Aden for Africa.” His current work will feature Yemen on the French TV.

Daily life on Radio France International:

An Arab-French guy is present among the group. He is doing a radio program specialized in travel. “I like this country which is very special in the Arab World,” said Ziad Ma'loof who is a reporter for Radio France International. He will be recording a program on every day life in Yemen accompanied by his Yemeni friend who knows French. “We will roam in the city recording one day in the life of a Yemeni citizen. that will give the audience an idea about how an average native spends his time in Yemen.” He intends also to feature miqshamas (gardens) in the Old City of Sana'a which are part of its antique beauty.