WhispersDeserted! [Archives:2005/879/Culture]

September 22 2005

By Fahmia Al-Fotih
Actually, I feel so sorry every time I happen to be at Sana'a International Airport whenever a hold comparison between it and other airports in some Arab countries or some international airports I used to know in my travels abroad. However, it seems that not only the Sana'a Airport which is suffering. Last year I found myself in Aden Airport in a trip organized by the UNICEF and all of us were surprised to find that Aden Airport is much worse than Sana'a Airport and its condition is more horrible.

One of the persons, not a Yemeni, accompanying us in that trip, commented when he saw the condition at the airport, “It is a deserted airport” and he was completely right. As we looked around us, we could not see anybody there even the employees of the airport, though the time was daytime. In all the airports, one can see that there is a non-stop work, day and night and there is always continuous active movement. In addition, those airports are so big that one feels he is lost. Nevertheless, at our airports, we enter the first door and soon we find that we have reached outside the building. One of my friends is used to complain of the lack of time punctuality at our airport. That used to repeatedly cause her problems.

At first, I did not take her complaints seriously, thinking maybe she was exaggerating in her complaints. Nevertheless, this week I experienced on aspect of her complaints when both of us were obliged to wait at the airport for more than three hours. We tried to pass the dragging time in chatting and talking about vari0us subjects, sometimes we would stand and walk, and sometimes we sat down until we got exhausted of waiting. Even the simplest facilities for travellers and visitors at the airport are not available. For example, places where one can get drinking water. When one feels thirsty, he has to go and buy a bottle of water at the airport shops, but in case you one has no money there and then, he has to suffer from his thirst. We have one international airport through which visitors from different countries of the world pass and it is the first place a visitor would arrive at so it should be well-organized in a way to encourage visitors to discover the country and to have a pretty image that could push them to encourage their friends to visit the country and explore its landmarks of beauty too. Unfortunately, these people have passed through different airports but when they arrive at Yemen airport, you can imagine the big disappointment impression drawn on their faces. The government calls for, encourage internal tourism, and attract tourists from all over the world, yet in reality there is nothing encouraging for flourishing tourism. I read many times in official newspapers there are preparations to improve Aden airport and I wonder why these preparations and renovations have not been implemented until now.

As a part of our job as a journalists, we write about the beautiful places and the amazing and distinguished historical towns and cities as well as the cultural and natural heritage Yemen possesses. Beautifully, Some Yemenis either inside or abroad have spared no efforts to promote tourism in their country. However, we do not see the efforts of the government in improving the airports, in either Aden or Sana'a.

We do not see efforts for improving tourist services and providing more facilities. Yemen is very beautiful a country and full of various and incredible tourist resources and attractions. These attractions need capitals to invest in and careful hands to exert serious efforts to develop, especially by the public sector. Tourism is the backbone of many countries and one day Yemen could depend on tourism more than anything else could. So, when will we realize that fact before it is too late and before ours would be considered, as deserted and isolated a country?