SANA’A – Deputy director of the Tourism Promotion Council (TPC) Alwan al-Shibani revealed that Yemen’s tourism sector have been affected due terrorist events took place in Marib and the latest terrorist attack on Belgian tourists in Hadramout province.
Al-Shibani affirmed that foreign countries had warned their citizens not to travel to Yemen, noting the warnings have made it prohibitive to tourist groups to visit Yemen.
“Tourist applications were influenced by the recent terrorist events. For example, a few days ago, four Italian tourist groups were planning to visit a number of the Yemeni archaeological sites but they converted to Oman at the last moment due warnings of their country. The travel warnings created restrictions on insurance ratio which affected the development of tourism in our country”, said al-Shibani.
In an interview with the weekly 26September newspaper, al-Shibani said that the TPC is trying to do its best to change the wrong image of Yemen in the western media eyes through holding tourist exhibitions abroad and attending various international tourism events in Europe and Asia.
“Regrettably this is not enough, we and the private sector want government bodies to participate effectively in this aspect through urging our embassies abroad to brief foreigners on developments in our country, particularly in the security side and what actions had been taken to maintain security and stability which ensure the safety of everyone in the country”, said al-Shibani.
Describing the government’s role in the tourist fields as very limited, al-Shibani said Tourism Ministry plays a good role in promoting tourism in the country, adding “but it is beyond the level required because its impact is still local and they could not change the wrong image of Yemen abroad”.
“We call on the government to prepare the tourism national strategy which will activate various areas of the tourism sector and ensure the rehabilitation and training of tourist guiders as well as activating the activities of local communities and involving them in the process of tourism”, said al-Shibani.
Al-Shibani urged the government to control historical and archaeological areas instead tribes or their leaders, “then we can launch the process of prospecting in archaeologies and transferring them to museums or replacing in their sites so that these areas become open museums”.
According to official statistics issued by Tourism Ministry, the tourism sector contributed last year to the national revenue amounted to $ 524 million, but al-Shibani affirmed the main obstacle to tourism investment in Yemen was the lack of investors willing to invest in tourism services.
“When security situations stabilize and the European warnings are abated, the number of foreign tourists coming to Yemen will increase and tourism investments will grow”, noted al-Shibani.