By Tamjid Alkohali
Despite wider turmoil, the Ministry of Tourism has continued to develop Socotra as a safe tourism destination. Director-General of Eco-Tourism Hussein Alskab announced the training of seventy-six tour guides, as well as various service workers in the governorate. Yemen’s tourism revenues rose to $940 million in 2013, which was an increase of 11% driven mainly by Socotri tourism. There was also an increase of tourists by 3%.
Fatima al-Horaiby, executive director of the Tourism Promotion board, said that their work has been integral in cultural awareness, which has drawn many foreigners, especially Arabs, to the country.
“Many Arab tourists and visitors told me they wanted to visit Yemen because they love it, its pleasant weather, and its kind people.”
Tourism and Traveling Federation Vice President Mohammed Fazi said that security issues remain the primary reason for tourism limitations in the country.
“Terrorist activities perpetrated by al-Qaeda as well as security issues such as assassinations and other incidents have placed the tourism sector in the danger zone.”
Fazi says that many European countries especially have warned their citizens against traveling to Yemen, and many insurance companies have refused to cover tourists.
Al-Horaiby agreed that the tourism requires both consistent investment and also wider stability in order to survive. She is optimistic given the political transition, and also successful tourism exhibitions in which Yemen has participated.
She also said that Yemeni and foreign tourism agencies have entered around three hundred agreements, many of which have been postponed or cancelled only as a result of terrorism.