Tourist industry needs a hand [Archives:2002/41/Culture]

October 7 2002


TAIZ – The government of Yemen needs to join hands with the private sector help create an atmosphere that will encourage tourists to visit the country.
That is one of the conclusions of tourism officials who met for a tourism seminar in Taiz September 29.
While Yemen may be rich in historical sites, they’re being bypassed by many people.
In response, Asaeed Foundation for Culture and Sciences organized the seminar entitled “Tourism, Renewable Industry and Sustainable Wealth”.
The seminar was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the Chamber of Commerce, and the local council in Taiz. It resulted in a host of recommendations, including establishing new government policies to encourage private investments in building tourism infrastructure, exempting tourist establishments from tax, develop new infrastructure, enhance tourist activities, revive popular festivals, provide good security for tourists, end all kidnappings, raise public awareness, integrate tourism in school curriculum and mass media educate and train human people in the tourist sector.
The seminar was initiated with opening ceremonies attended by Tourism Minister, Abdulmalik Al-Iryani who confirmed in his speech that the seminar helped raise awareness of tourism needs in Yemen.
“The ministry is working for developing tourism in Yemen through designing efficient policies and strategies based on a well-planned rational legislation which will in turn enable the private sector to invest in tourism,’ he said.
The minister also referred to the decline of the sector due to the Sept. 11 attacks on the USA, and how the government has responded
Mr. Ali Mohammed Saeed, a member of Ashoura Council, and chairman of the board of directors of HSA, confirmed that Yemen is rich with tourist attractions which need to be invested. He also called for qualifying tourist cadres through more training courses. His speech was delivered on his behalf by Mr. Abdulgabbar H. Saeed, GM of the Industrial Administration of the HSA group of companies. In the speech, Mr. Ali Mohamed Saeed emphasized on the need to enhance the qualifications of the working staff in the tourism sector. He also confirmed that the HSA group is widely contributing to developing tourism through a number of tourist projects.
Mr. Shawqi Ahmed Saeed, vice chairman of the chamber of commerce in Taiz, said that Yemen is the cradle of civilizations and it is famous of its tourist attractions and unique architecture. He added that these features need to be exploited properly and this cannot be obtained unless the government establishes a solid tourist infrastructure.
Mr. Abdulgabbar Abdullah Saeed, GM of the tourist affairs department of the ministry of tourist and environment, dealt in his speech with the economic revenues of tourism, and said the government should place tourism at the top of its agenda.
Mr. Mahmoud S. Al-Shaibani, vice GM of Universal Travel and Tourism company, presented a working paper titled “The cultural role of tourism in the communication between the world’s civilizations.” He noted that Yemen is rich in its cultural heritage, but it needs to pay more attention to its culture to attract more tourists.
Mr. Abdulqawi Salem Thabet, Advisor to the tourism ministry, said that the various tourist attractions in Taiz governorate and its musical and cultural heritage are of great potential. He recommended protecting the environment and holding annual cultural festivals, activating tourist police and encouraging investments in tourism.
Mr. Al Ezi Mohammed Musleh, director of Taiz antiquities office, referred in his paper to the historical sites in Taiz including the Taiz fort, Saber, Al Aroos fort, Mua’ad bin Gabel mosque, and demanded that greater attention be paid to them.
Mr. Alwan Al-Shaibani, chairman of Yemeni Hotels Federation, dealt with the local and regional crises that have affected tourism severely. He called upon both the private sector and government to invest more in tourism to overcome the current challenges and provide more facilities for investors in this sector.
Mr. Abdulqadir Al-Shaibani, Editorial Secretary of the Yemen Tourism magazine said that the main obstacle hindering promotion of tourism is the limited budget assigned for this sector. He said that the authorities should exert more effort in promoting tourism by inviting foreign delegations and launching strategic promotional and advertising programs.
Mr. Muneer Ahmed Hayel, member of the seminar preparation committee said that tourism is in need of governmental and local council support. He stressed that improving and beautifying cities through tree-planting is one way to help. More promotion for tourism in the country is another.
At the end of the seminar, participants committed to enhance tourism through all means possible and pledged more efforts by the business community in this regard.