By Tamjid Alkohali
After long time of preparation and organization, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism, the Sana’a Summer Festival VII launched yesterday, August 17, and will continue to the 31st of the same month, under the title “For Stable and Prosperous Tourism Throughout Yemen.”
The Sana’a Summer Festival launched this year while the country is going through many difficulties and hopes to achieve a high rate of interest as well as a big yield.
As usual, the festival includes lyrical, artistic, and folkloric shows as well as tourism exhibitions with local, Arab, and international participation.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Kassim Sallam, the festival is considered a promotional festival for domestic and foreign tourism.
There are eight Arab countries participating in the festival, 12 different communities in Yemen, 23 governorates, as well as more than 1800 participants in the carnival of the festival.
The festival also features musical performances, 120 tourist facilities, 149 singers, and 81 craftsmen from different governorates.
The Aden governorate will participate with an artistic convoy that includes many singers at the end of current month.
However, Sallam pointed out that the massacre that occurred in Seiyun that led to the death of 14 soldiers negatively affected international presence and a number of countries abstained from participating because of this tragic incident.
Abdul Qader Hilal, the Secretary of Sana’a, said that Yemen won’t succumb to the difficult conditions and terrorist attempts and will continue moving forward for Yemenis who want a civil state and a new Yemen.
“The Sana’a Tourist Summer Festival is a summary of everything mentioned in the National Dialogue Conference. It will present Yemen as a beautiful painting because Sana’a is a symbol of peace and harmony,” added Hilal.
The festival, which took place in Alsabaeen Park, contains more than 80 tents of cultural displays such as handicrafts, art events, circus acts, entertainment, and talent shows, as well as a section devoted to women and children. Each tent represents a province, reflecting the lifestyles, habits, and traditions of that province.
Alsabaeen Park has turned into an open theater. It enabled the audience of the Sana’a Summer Festival to learn about cultural heritage and the great history of Sana’a and the rest provinces, adding to other Arab cultures and foreign participation in the festival.
Saeed Almanhali is one of the participants in the festival. He that he participates in the festival every year in order to represent the Marib governorate through their tent, which displays the popular traditions and the authentic traditions of the people in Marib.
“The Marib tent is the most visited by people in the festival. They spend time watching the popular dances of Marib and listening to Rababa melodies and poems as well as drinking Marib coffee,” said Almanhali.
Almanhali emphasized that last year he achieved resounding success and this year he came to complete the previous successes that will promote and activate tourism.
The Sana’a Summer Festival is considered an annual opportunity to promote tourism and define the cultural heritage of Yemen in order to flourish the tourism sector, both locally to entertain people and externally to attract tourists to visit Yemen.
However, the lack of attention of the media was noticeable. There are many people who don’t know about festival or they heard about it late. Many people aren’t aware the importance of the festival.
Ali Hussein al-Matari, an owner of old accessories store, wanted to participate in the festival but he didn’t know about it until after its launch.
“News about the festival for five minutes on the Yemen channel daily isn’t enough. It’s supposed to specify television programs to show the festival activities in details,” added al-Matari.
Al-Matari emphasized that the participants are the same every year so, they demand the Ministry of Tourism share the event with new people in order to reveal new creations and talented people and make the festival more interesting.
On other hand, despite the last festival having big support domestically and from overseas, there are many shortcomings in terms of preparation and organization.
Some demanded the president Hadi to stop holding the festival for economic reasons, considering it a failed project which doesn’t achieve any returns for tourism or economic activity in Yemen.
Economists considered the festival useless in these bad conditions but it will be more useful under safe situations, emphasizing that Yemen needs security to grow tourism.
However, according to the field statistics, a large rate of citizens encouraged holding the festival. They said the economic conditions and security should not be an obstacle to the establishment such festivals. If the festival doesn’t improve foreign tourism due to lawlessness, it can positively affect domestic tourism and awareness of the people.