Kidnapping’s negative impact on tourism [Archives:2006/910/Business & Economy]

January 9 2006

Authorities are making efforts to reduce the impact of the kidnapping phenomenon, recently returned to Yemeni territories, on tour group numbers and falling tourist revenues. The tourist sector contributes significant hard currency to the state budget.

At a recent plenary meeting in Sana'a, attended by Minister of Culture and Tourism Khalid Al-Ruwaishan, Minister of Interior Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi, tourist agency officials and members of the tourist promotion council, security and tourist authorities in Yemen, affirmed the need to enhance security efforts in capturing anyone who tries to kidnap tourists.

Attendees discussed Yemen's tourist activity and the negative impact from kidnapping of tourists by outlaws in Mareb and Shabwa governorates. The kidnapping incidents continued for a limited time until security arranged for hostages' safe release without exposing them to any harm. Attendees also stressed the need to provide a convenient atmosphere for tourist activity to progress normally.

Participants also discussed ways to strengthen security efforts to control those attempting to kidnap tourists, considered Yemen's guests, and the negative results the kidnappings will have on the reputation of Yemeni people's ethics and on Islamic religious principles. They also deemed the kidnappings as deforming Yemen's image abroad and damaging the national economy by negatively influencing tourist activity and investment plans.

A previous consultative meeting of Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, chairman of the Yemeni Society for Tourism and Travel Agencies, travel group heads and agency representatives and the Yemeni Union for Hotels, demanded applying the law to fight kidnapping and highwayman incidents. They also demanded a clear-cut action strategy for tourism in Yemen and enacting the Shoura Council's proposal to create a tourism ministry with expertise and staff able to work in that field.

Participants condemned all types of kidnapping, considering it a crime rejected by religion and norms, in addition to harming Yemen and its people and inflicting losses on the tourism sector. They recommended forces join to end acts committed by those disregarding stability and security and stressed that implementing the law to fight kidnapping is the most effective way to deter such criminals.