Limiting military escorts of tourists was one of the recommendations of Tourism conference [Archives:2003/672/Community]

September 29 2003

Under the slogan “To retain Yemen's position in international tourism”, a two-day Second National Conference on Tourism was concluded in Sana'a on Tuesday September 16.
Organized by the Ministry of Tourism in coordination with tourism agencies and hotel service providers, the conference aimed at highlighting the challenges and obstacles facing the national tourism industry, issues related to tourism investments, administrative measures and government facilities needed to enhance tourism in the country. Another objective was to enhance Yemen's reputation worldwide and adopt new means to market for tourism in Yemen in an effort to increase Yemen's share in global tourism and to also raise awareness of the authorities and the public on the importance of tourism.
The two-day conference, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Abdulqadir ba Jammal, also included discussions of a number of studies and working papers concerning tourism in Yemen. The studies focused on two topics: the internal problems facing tourism and means to resolve them, and the challenge of marketing and raising awareness about tourism potentials in Yemen and how to overcome them.
The papers were presented by a number of specialists in tourism, who focused on the difficulties faced by tourism industry as whole and proposed steps to be taken by the government and others to improve tourism sector at all levels. The three main problems discussed were the security problem, the weak tourism infrastructure and environmental issues. The presenters said that those three problems have affected the standard of tourism in the country and led to a nose dive in the number of tourists coming to Yemen. However, some presenters added that regional and international crises such as the incidents of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also had their toll on the tourism sector.
According to some papers, those difficulties have resulted in severe damage to the tourism industry and caused many tourism companies to declare bankruptcy and close down.
The conferees have agreed that comprehensive and specialized studies based on accurate statistics and surveys needed to be carried out by specialists to underline the priorities of the government and private sector in reviving the economy.
The conference has come up with a recommendation stating that the government needs to be accountable and responsible in this regard by using the expertise and knowledge of specialized individuals and companies for setting up long and short term plans and strategies to have Yemen's tourism industry recover from its stagnancy. These plans, participants say, must maintain the delicate balance between benefits of tourism companies and gains by the government. To achieve this, the government should work on categorizing and specifying tourism potentials and values of the different parts of the country based on each region's tourism prospective that are classified according to weather, wildlife, terrain, historical sites, etc…
Participants have also come up with a conclusion of the need to be strict in prohibiting any activities or projects that may affect tourism potentials of any region in the country using firm laws and regulations.
Furthermore, the conference also assumed that the revival of tourism also depends on how the other public and private services coordinate with the tourism sector. In other words, the other service-oriented sectors are complementary to the tourism sector as all go hand in hand to provide the best services to tourists. “How can we promote tourism in the country if we cannot guarantee that roads will be clean, electricity will be stable, and other services are provided adequately?” said one of the participants.
Coordination between the different public services providers in the country should be strong enough to guarantee that they all work in harmony to provide the best of services to the tourism industry.
The speakers also concentrated on the need for the government and the public to realize the importance of the tourism sector as an income generator that many countries worldwide depend on in their economies. They added that Yemeni diplomatic and cultural missions need to assist in promoting tourism to Yemen in the countries they are accredited. They can figure out the best way to achieve this by communicating with governmental establishments and tourism agencies in those countries.
The conference came out with recommendations focusing on the need to remove all obstacles facing tourism agencies, especially military escorts that usually cause inconvenience to tourists. “Security and stability is a major prerequisite. If the government cooperates with us to achieve this, we will make our guests have peace of mind and enjoy a splendid stay in Yemen.” said one of the tourism agency operators.