By Tamjid Alkohali
The Minister of Tourism Muammar Al-Iryani, has signed an agreement with the head of the Arab Tourism Organization, Dr. Bandar bin Fahd Al-Fahid in Saudi Arabia. The agreement aims to achieve several projects and activities for Socotra Island.
The agreement will lead to a tourist survey on Island, to attract tourist investments with the cooperation of the Islamic Development Bank Group (ISDBG).The ISDBG will conduct a study to help the establishment of a tourism fund, develop local communities, create jobs, reduce poverty, provide expertise in the field of training, rehabilitation and develop the national strategy for tourism that may fit with the current situation, as well as improve the quality of tourism services and programs for tourists.
During the meeting, Al-Iryani and Dr. Al-Fahid, expressed their appreciation for the role played by the Arab Tourism Organization for the Island.
Al-Iryani said, his ministry aims to make tourism one of the national product components and raise the rate of tourism from 3% to 10–15% . According to the UNESCO, Socotra considered to be one of the top ten environmental sites in the world by 2008. It was also lined up to be a among new Seven Wonders of the World.
Socotra island has an airport that receives direct flights and it has the nautical transport from Mukalla province. The minister called on all Arab tourists to visit the Island, especially tourists from Saudi Arabia.
The tourist survey process in Socotra Island is considered a very important step considering the unsafe situations in Yemen and will help document archaeological sites and improve tourist services.
Socotra is a Yemeni archipelago consisting of four islands. The archipelago sits in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Horn of Africa, 350 km south of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a population of 100,000 people who speak unique languages of interest to many researchers.
The long isolation of the island from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula has granted the island an incredibly unique level of biological settlement on the island, and has similarly shaped a unique social structure of the island’s human population.
Socotra is characterized by a wide cover of vegetation; the island enjoys over 750 distinct plant species, 145 species of endemic birds, more than 730 types of fish, 300 of crabs, 60 of moths, and many other organisms that are the reason it is the only nature reserve to contain other reserves within itself.
There are also mountainous caves scattered across the island. Outside the caves, Socotra’s beaches are considered one of its beautiful secrets. The beaches are blessed with pure white sands, which appear to visitors like piles of cotton shaded by palm trees. The water around the island is free of pollution, which means that visitors can watch fish swim through the crystal clear waters. All of Socotra’s beaches are suitable for recreation and diving.