The Importance of Tourism to the National Income [Archives:2004/741/Culture]

May 27 2004

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
The Republic of Yemen is considered one of the most important tourist regions in the Arab Peninsula because it has a lot of potential, if properly utilized, that would lead to the flourishing of tourism in Yemen.
The Republic of Yemen, among its many qualities, enjoys a very pleasant moderate climate with a diversity of weather conditions.
The diversity of the weather is attributed to the distinguished location of the Republic of Yemen and the various geographical elevations of the country, from the central western and eastern mountainous regions to the central and eastern plain with lavish greenish mountain terraces not counting the fascinating and breath-taking views scattered on the shores and coastal areas on the Red Sea and Arab Sea and Indian Ocean. The diversity of the weather conditions is normally suitable for many tourists.

Great Ancient civilizations
Many ancient civilizations, known to many, originated in Yemen and left behind many traces and historic sites dispersed throughout the country.
They are the reminiscent and reflective of the great and magnificent civilizations which existed in Yemen, for future generations to look into and to contemplate.
These historic sites such as the still-standing palaces, temples and dams with traces of advanced irrigation channels and other ruins are of great interests to many tourists from all over the world, who are thirsty to enquire about the ancient past of the human race.
Efforts to preserve and to protect them would provide resounding ground to attract tourists.

Traditional Handicrafts
Many Yemenis continue working at many traditional trades of great importance to Yemenis as well as to foreigners. These trades range from simple production kitchen appliances such 'Haradh' bowls, special rocks which are carved to be shaped like a bowl, to hand-made textile and woolen products such vests, rugs and scarves which enjoy high quality and excellent craftsmanship.
Hand made traditional pottery and ceramics and traditional Yemeni hats made from the roots of palm trees are still competing with the mechanized-manufactured of similar goods, locally made or imported from outside. In general, the hand-made products are unfortunately more attractive to foreigners than to locals.
However, they remain the means of providing to many Yemeni families. The point is that supporting and assisting those preserving the various traditional Yemeni industries would be financially productive to the locals and contribute to sustaining the means to attract foreign tourists.Moreover, the Republic of Yemen embraces a wide range of folklore highly appreciated by westerners and other tourists of the world. There are even different folkloric dances and habits from one province to another within the same governorate.
Furthermore, generally speaking, the Yemenis are known to be more welcoming, honest and straightforward to outside tourists regardless of their nationalities than in any other country. They are strong believers in the good values of Islam and continue to possess and sustain praiseworthy and laudable traditions and norms.

The tourism industry could flourish in Yemen only if we work collectively through the state and the private sector to utilize the ancient Yemeni civilizations along with the development and sustaining of valuable traditional Yemeni trades and handcraft industries.
Certainly, tourists will always include researchers, intellectuals and historians who are interested in the history of Yemen, and consequently their conclusions and findings would definitely be published in books or reports deposited at libraries and universities. The availability and accessibility of these books and reports would motivate and encourage many others to visit Yemen and to see closely what they have read about Yemen.
In concluding, tourism in Yemen could become a high revenue industry, both to the state treasury and individuals, with the proper approach to utilizing the capabilities and potential of Yemen and Yemeni citizens.