Tourism down, insurance up Ripples from Limburg attack now felt [Archives:2002/49/Business & Economy]
BY MAHYOUB AL-KAMALI
YEMEN TIMES STAFF
The terrorist incident against the French oil tanker Limburg on Oct. 6 has began to have its negative impact on the Yemeni economy.
The act did not affect the marine life and activity of fishermen alone, but has extended to include other income-raising sectors.
Tankers avoid frequenting Yemeni ports claiming they are unsafe, despite means and measures the government has taken to ensure safety of tankers and mercantile vessels going to those ports.
Isurance has been raised on tankers and ships that would enter the Yemeni ports under the pretext of the increase of risks and levying duties of war circumstances by companies.
Figures suggest Yemen loses an estimated amount of US $3.8 million per month because of recession in navigation activity and additional insurance prices.
The Yemeni government has taken strict security measures for protecting ships and tankers but insurance companies exaggerate in imposing additional war dangers duties.
There is a drop in tourist ships coming from tourist markets and as it is reflected negatively on revenues of the tourist sector, harms the national income.
Preliminary statements indicate that the efforts exerted by the government for tourist promotion have lost their significance because of the Limburg incident and official sides are in need of new promotional plans to restore confidence in the tourist climate.
But observers think there could be fears for lives of tourists resulting from the aftermath of the Qaed Senyan al-Harithi killing along with five al-Qaeda elements in Mareb. There are fears that tourists might be kidnapped especially that the most important tourist features and sites are situated in Mareb and Jawf.
Owners of tourist agencies confirm that the killing of al-Harithi and his colleagues has created a feeling that an aggression occurred on their land, thinking that the flow of tourists would witness a noticeable retreat.
Observers also say that the British decision urging its nationals not to travel to Yemen would increase the tourit recession and reduce greatly financial returns.
Tourist authorities have some options for activating tourism..
They say efforts must be forwarded towards Arab tourist markets to encourage inter-Arab tourism and visit Yemen’s tourist landmarks and sites.
Attention should be drawn to alternate markets in the south-east Asia countries to attract tourist groups especially from countries not affected or influenced by the western media propaganda, especially Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
There should be more tourist exhibitions in foreign markets to restore confidence in the Yemeni tourist climate.
Observers expect that these options would lead to improving the reputation of tourism atmospheres and attracting new tourists to Yemen. Such a success would revive vitality of tourism sector and provide financial resources that help activate the sector’s activities.