Boosting government and private sector partnerships

Jordan’s historical town of Salt

THE Yemeni cabinet recently approved a Tourism Marketing and Promotion Strategy to be implemented starting this year until 2015.

It aims to better the tourist situation in Yemen and boost the partnership between the government and the private sector and to develop the tourism sector’s contribution to the national economy.

Tourist revenues in Yemen reached YR90 billion ($450 million) in 2008, compared to YR85 billion in the previous year, an increase of 6 per cent, according to Yemen’s Statistics of Ministry of Tourism. Tourist arrivals to Yemen totalled 404,497 in 2008, compared to 378,361 the prior year, a rise of seven per cent.

The contribution of travel and tourism to GDP is expected to rise from 6.1 per cent ($2.1 billion) in 2009 to 6.3 per cent (YR1.3 trillion) by 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The Yemen Tourism Promotion Board was at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai this year showcasing its tourism offerings, sharing with other exhibitors ATG Abu Taleb Group, Bazara Travel & Tourism, Mövenpick Hotel Sana’a, Sheraton Sana’a Hotel, Universal Touring Company and Yemenia (Yemen Airways).

As a destination, the Republic of Yemen overlooks about 2,500 kilometres of coastal line stretching from the Red Sea in the west to the Arabian Sea in the south and the east. Attractions are many and include the capital Sana’a Old City; the Socotra Archipelago consisting of the main island of Socotra and three smaller islands, historically known for its unique and spectacular vegetation; Shibam Haddramout, the World Heritage site nicknamed ‘the Manhattan of the desert’; and Zabid, the original ‘city of culture’, with its history and many libraries.

The recent terrorist attacks on tourists in the north of the country in Saana have been bad news for Yemen. Despite pressure from the international community to safeguard visitors, these incidents and kidnappings of foreigners continue to occur and as a result deter more visitors from coming to the country.