Yemen to get its image back on track

Guest Writer

The new director of the Yemen Tourist Board (YTB) has set out her plans to improve the image of the destination and get tourism initiatives back on track.
Fatima A Al-Huraibi conceded that negative publicity regarding Yemen’s safety and political stability had thwarted tourism growth from key source markets such as Europe and that this decline in tourism - particularly from Germany and Italy - had caused widespread unemployment in Yemen.
However, quoting, His Excellency, the Tourism Minister, Nabil A-Fakih, she said: “What we hope, God willing, is to overcome this crisis in record time, so as to ensure the stability of the tourism sector.”
She also stressed that according to Q1 2010 statistics, Yemen achieved a 5% increase in visitor numbers.
“Our targets for 2010 and beyond are to do more promotional activities in the GCC, Europe, and Asia to attract more tourists to Yemen, to do more visits for foreign correspondents from the same areas, and to shoot documentary films on Yemen tourism,” she revealed.
“In addition, there is a plan to contract PR firms in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. We are already working with partners in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and the Emirates.  We want to ensure that travel advice is fair and consistent and reflects the real situation for visitors on the ground.”
She also noted that the Middle East was “as important as the UK” as a source market for Yemen.
“We are intending to run another road show in GCC states and will take part in Arabian Travel Market,” she said.
“Many Gulf people are of Yemeni origin and they tend to come to Yemen for a family visit and tourism during the school summer vacation.”
Al-Huraibi said being the first female director of the YTB would allow her to use her “past working experience with rural women and encourage them to be more active in the tourism sector by producing more traditional handicrafts for the tourists”.
“This can be accomplished through the new handicraft programme adopted by YTB executives that will allocate 10 million Yemeni Rials (

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