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Yemen Calls for the "Road of Myrrh and Frankincense", and increases its Hotels' capacity During 1997 several positive developments in the tourism field occurred in Yemen. The most distinctive had been the inauguration of some hotels and conducting one direct air route from Sana'a to Madrid .
Yemen's Public Tourism Authority had also participated in several international tourist exhibitions and forums. They were organized in Germany, Italy, France and Britain. The Authority thus took a more concrete step in attracting the directions more suitable for exporting the tourists.
The last decade (1987-1997) had been distinct with sharp fluctuations in the movement of tourist arrivals to Yemen. The most remarkable improvement was reached in 1992 with the ratio 63.64%, and in 1995 of 52.50% ratio. The worst year for tourist arrival to Yemen has been 1994 when the ratio dropped to 64%, and during which only forty thousand tourists came to Yemen, while the tourism's returns were only 19 million dollars!
In comparison on, both 1992 and 1995 accounted among the best years of Yemen's tourism, when the relative revenues had been respectively estimated 47 million and 64 million dollars. Even on a better scale, the year 1997 is to be considered the best of all due to the amount of revenues (69 million dollars) that were collected from the sector of tourism. In fact on comparison with 1996, the increase in ratio had been estimated 64.29%
As for the tourism activity, Yemen is witnessing a progress in the numbers since 1995. In 1997 there had been large numbers of tourists coming from Holland (137.8%), Australia (82.4%) and Japan (66.3%). However, half of the total arrivals have usually been coming form Germany (13478 tourists), France (12346), Italy (11188), UK (6385) and Holland (4054).
The 1997 Report of WTO indicated proportionally less numbers of tourists coming to Yemen from six main Arab States. While in 1995, they were constituting 12.42% of the total tourists to Yemen, this ratio dropped to 11.25% in the year 1997.
Of those Arab states, KSA is the first exporter of tourists and visitors to Yemen. This is due to several reasons perhaps the most obvious is the geographical closeness of the Kingdom to the Republic of Yemen. The number of arrivals from Saudi Arabia had been 2415 in 1995; 4210 in 1996 and 3930 in 1997. Yemeni tourism has thus suffered by 6.7% in this respect.
In the second category, Jordan's export of tourism is to be accounted for. Whilst in 1996 there were 1475 tourists, the figure increased to 1937 in the following year. The other countries are Egypt, which is followed then by Syria. Iraq comes the last in the order of exporting tourists to Yemen.
It is also important to note that tourists arriving from Sudan have always been for several years within the figure 500 only!
However, all these figures should suggest that Yemen in the eyes of the Arab world and ratio is still not explored. As a matter of fact, one cannot talk about environ mental tourism except when the country is to be visited by not less than ten thousand tourists coming every year from any other country. The table below gives the numbers of tourists and relative returns to Yemen's economy for the period 1988-1997:-
Items 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 Arrivals (in thousands) 60 65 52 44 72 70 40 61 74 84 Tourism's returns (in millions of dollars) 21 26 20 21 47 45 19 33 42 69 Annual change in ratio (%) -56.25 23.81 -23.08 5.00 123.81 4.26 -57.78 73.68 27.27 64.29
*Source of figures: world Tourism Organization (WTO) the officials on Yemeni tourism say that a head of them are many tourist potentials. They are seeking re-start of a program known here: "Return of Reviving the Road of myrrh and Frankincense". This was anciently linking Yemen with many countries. Once implemented, this program would immensely increase the number of tourists particularly those arriving from all states of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. _________________________________ Source: "Economic" half - monthly issue of Saba News Agency, Issue No. 112 of June 15, 1998.