Murky tourism in cool summer [Archives:2003/656/Business & Economy]

August 4 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
It is to be observed that there is a great retreat in the proportion of tourists flow to Yemen from the European and American tourist market associated with increasing warnings of launching attacks on western interests in Yemen, as a later from the American embassy in Sana'a has said lately. It is therefore that sources at the ministry of culture and tourism expected that the tourist movement would see a negative development during the present summer and the remaining months of the year 2003 for fear of the reflections by behaviour of the American policy regarding al-Qaeda organisation led by Osama bin Laden whose roots belong to Yemen and the American-British war on Iraq. No Yemeni denies or differs in his opinion from another Yemeni that the United States of America has occupied Iraq and there must be jihad against it as a colonialist country of an Arab country and has no interests in Yemen.
The ministry of culture and tourism thinks for compensating Yemen's losses in the tourist sector should be in dealing with new markets. Figures indicate that the companies have lost between 40 to 60 percent of their profits.
The official circles describe the summer of this year as a cold season as there is no flow of foreign tourists and all what is there is the rise in the local tourism between the Yemeni governorates, especially between the city and the countryside. Sources at the tourism ministry say the present season would witness a growth in the number of foreign tourists and the volume of their expenditure may amount to $ 80 million, without counting fees of air and sea transport. This ushers an increase against the year 2000 that amounted to $76 million while the volume of spending in 1998 amounted to around $85 million.
By the approval of the Higher Council of Tourism of new policies for dealing with the tourist situation resulting from Iraq's crisis and post-11 September, the number of tourists who are going to visit the Yemeni tourist resorts this year is expected to reach about 90 thousand tourists compared to 82270 foreign tourists in 1998 and about 80451 tourists in 1997 who were mostly Italians, Germans and French. The new policies concentrate on the markets of South-East Asia and encouragement of inter-tourism especially from the GCC countries and the looking for markets exporting tourists from African countries.