By NY Staff
Officials at the Tourism Ministry and the Office of Tourism Promotion realize the importance of tourism for Yemen. They work hard to hold tourist events and activities in all governorates in order to improve tourism, considering it a very important means to develop the country’s income, no less important than petroleum.
At the same time, all concerned authorities in tourism realize that the main reason for deteriorating tourism in Yemen, which contains many tourist attractions, natural treasures, as well as ancient history, is the lawlessness which makes tourists from many countries avoid visiting it. Unfortunately, political conflicts still kill everything beautiful in our country, especially in Amran, where historical sites and monuments have been destroyed as a result of recent events. So, what remains of the archaeological sites in Amran?
General Manager of Tourism in Amran, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Muafa, said that no doubt Yemen in general is considered a tourist country of the highest degree. Tourism in Yemen is a form of cultural tourism. It results from cultural and historical heritage, which is rooted deeply in history. Therefore, Yemen is considered an open museum.
“Amran has remarkable attitudes in all historical junctures in Yemen. It’s among the most important tourist governorates where there are five walled historical cities which belong to ancient history, characterized by architectural art and different traditions,” stated Al-Muafa.
However, this historical significance didn’t hinder people who destroy everything in order to achieve their desires. “A lot of sites and ancient cities were targeted with rockets and heavy weapons. The most affected cities were Huth, Athr, Dhofar, Redah, old Amran, historical Thula city, Bani Memon village and fort, Hbabp city as well as Al-Janat, which have all been affected significantly,” explained Al-Muafa.
Before the outbreak of war between the army and the Houthis, people and officials of tourism were still seeing flourishing tourism and were working to make Amran the best tourist area in the world. “Despite the Tourist Office in Amran not having resources, we have implemented 33 tourist projects since 2002 until 2012. The total cost of these projects was $1.6 billion,” said Al-Muafa.
The attempts to develop Amran weren’t only from inside Amran, but also from abroad.
“French people who are interested in adventure tourism and paragliding visited the Masaur directorate many times and said it enjoyed advantages that qualify it to compete globally or locally in the area of paragliding. From here the idea of building a center of Adventure Tourism and paragliding in cooperation with the same center in France,” added Al-Muafa.
Officials in tourism began implementing the project. They specified a suitable place for establishing the center, while the French people prepared a short promotional film about adventure tourism and paragliding in Masaur.
“In 2007 there was a competition in an international exhibition organized by Hong Kong for the most suitable places for adventure tourism and paragliding in the world, and Yemen won first place in that competition. According to the result of the competition, we communicated with the most important activists in adventure tourism and paragliding, and their reply was positive. They have offered their help for building the center in a perfect way,” explained Al-Muafa.
Unfortunately, all these efforts have stopped. Amran right now is losing all the achievements implemented in the past. “The lack of security and the political conflicts are the only reasons behind the deterioration of tourism in Amran. But I believe that what happened in Amran and in all Yemen could be ended through implementing the National Dialogue outputs,” said Al-Muafa.