Tourism boom in 2005? [Archives:2005/811/Viewpoint]

January 27 2005

The Yemeni government had previously declared that the year 2005 would be dedicated to tourism, and plans have started to focus on this very theme.

Some tourism agencies and companies agree with this step and they have already seen some good numbers of tourists coming. Just two weeks ago, more than 1,000 tourists from Italy and other European countries visited Yemen.

The news is good.

However, one cannot forget that announcing a year for tourism is not enough to boost this important sector.

What is needed is a campaign. The travel agencies can do their share of the work by publicizing the different attractions they offer services at. But the government should also do some effort in producing attractive films and advertisements that show what Yemen's fascinating landscapes, ancient sites, and hospitable people.

Furthermore, what trigged me to write about this in this edition is the huge number of people sending emails once in a while asking questions like:

How is Yemen? Do you have tourism attractions? Where can I get information? And so on and so forth.

Our country seems to be a mystery for many around the globe. If there is a reason for that, then it is our inability to convey the true picture about Yemen and its people.

So as we get excited about the potentials that the new year will bring us, let us not forget that no fruits can be yielded without hard work and dedication.

As the press, we have been and will continue to be a source of information about various areas of Yemen. The number of articles that were published in Yemen Times focusing on tourism attractions is quite high even compared to other English language newspapers in the region.

We need to seize the opportunity and enjoy the time Yemen is seen as a peaceful country with few if any incidents happening for weeks and months. Looking at some violent incidents happening in some other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, we feel lucky that so far, things have been steady, at least when it comes to foreigners' safety and security.

The future looks bright in the tourism aspect. Tourism agencies are optimistic.

Let us hope that impressive numbers and greater international publicity for our country would follow this optimism.

This is possible as it happened in the past.

Otherwise Yemen would not have been called Arabia Felix.