Tourism in Yemen picks up after initial slowdown

General Manager of Sheraton Gold Mohur, Aden. Omar Rabi, speaks to TTN about his hotel and the tourism industry in Yemen.
A view of the Sheraton Gold Mohur Hotel and Resort.

Q. What makes the Sheraton Gold Mohur one of the leading hotels in Yemen?

A. Sheraton Gold Mohur Hotel & Resort, the only hotel and resort property in Yemen which has unique location overlooking Aden Bay, surrounded by a palm garden, turquoise blue water and virgin volcanic mountains "Just like having your own private beach".

Q. Does the Hotel offer any promotions or packages for tourists?

A. Bed and Breakfast w/dolphins (where you can take a glance of the dolphins on a cool morning or afternoon). Then we have a Bed and Terrine Package, (tour to different mountains and virgin islands.)

The Bed and Boat Package, ( you have a choice to have breakfast or lunch on the boat.)

We also have a Weekend Package and Sports Package.

Q. What percentage of the tourists visiting Yemen are from GCC?

A. 20 - 30 per cent of our Leisure Individual and Leisure groups come from GCC countries all year round. For Saudis and Omanis, it is a matter of few hours drive.

Q. Do you think the Yemeni government is doing enough to promote tourism in the country?. What steps could be taken to further promote the industry?

A. The Yemeni government along with private sectors are doing their best to promote the country through advertisements, publications and participating in the international tourism fairs.

The Yemeni government represented by Ministry of Tourism is presently soliciting the assistance of the private sector to aggressively promote tourism in the country.

We are taking a leadership role as a Starwood property. Supported by our owning company (Al Katheri Investment Group ) we are extending support to the Ministry of Tourism to promote this region - Aden. For it has to offer a lot from virgin beauty, simplicity warm climate to hospitable people.

I'm personally in touch with the Minister of Tourism to extend our expertise as a leading hotel in the country.

Q. Has the political instability in the region seen a drop in the number of tourists visiting Yemen?

A. Yes, however on monthly basis we are getting tours from Europe. The last one was from Italy and another Italian Group will be coming next month.

Again, private sector efforts are increasing and will make the difference to further promoting tourism.

Q. Any expansion plans for the hotel in the near future?

A. In accordance with our owner's (Al Katheri Investments Group) vision and commitments to promote tourism in the region, plans are under way to develop the largest ballroom in the area and a Leisure Village in the background of our hotel.

In addition to this, the Seafood Market Place is expected to open soon, where all furniture, fixtures, and all fittings have been custom-designed by a famous UK designer.