Tourism plan to correct Yemen's image abroad

Strategic Tourism Marketing Plan 2009 - 2015

Yemen Times.
Written by: Khaled Al-Hilaly

SANA'A, Feb.7— The Ministry of Tourism has unveiled its plan for the year 2009 to enhance tourism in Yemen and fix the country’s negative image abroad, both in the Arab and European tourist markets.

The new tourism plan includes promotional campaigns on European and Arab television channels, the country’s participation in 13 international and regional tourist exhibitions and enlisting the help of companies specialized in public relations in Arab and European countries to promote tourism in Yemen.

The plan was a good step forward by the Ministry of Tourism, according to Mohammed Baz'e, head of Cameleers Tours tourist agency, who thinks it's good to expand the country’s participation in international tourist exhibitions and increase the production of tourist maps and brochures.

"Tourist security is very important. There must be coordination between security and drivers of tourist groups," he added.

Also stressing the importance of security, “The coordination between the tourist police and the Ministry of Tourism is absolutely necessary,” said Mohammed Al-Adimi Administrative Manager of Arabian Horizon Travel and Tourism agency.

"The image of military vehicles accompanying tourist groups is not nice. It's better to put security in tourist sites and checkpoints along the roads to these sites,” he said.

Constant and unified coordination between the Ministry of Interior and foreign embassies in Yemen is needed, agree tour operators.

"Sometimes we tell our partners in countries like Germany, France or Japan that the situation is stable after we receive information from the Ministry of Interior, but we are surprised when we find that the country’s embassy declares warnings depending on a another source from the same ministry,” Al-Adimi said.

The development of the Strategic Tourism Marketing Plan 2015 is based on an analysis phase. It includes the current tourism situation in Yemen, destination, competitors and international trends, according to Kai Partale, a German expert who reviewed the plan.

"Based on these findings we developed a tourism mission statement to position Yemen with its core assets in the international markets,” said Partale. "Yemen has the chance now - in these uncertain and exciting days -, to present themselves to the tourism community, as attractively and unusually destination to be experienced by everyone personally and authentically,” he said.

“With a professional tourism marketing management structure and a strong focus on internal marketing for awareness-building within Yemeni society, [the country] can tackle and even prevent negative events harming tourism growth and stability," he concluded.

The new plan aims to build resting points along the main roads between cities, organize training courses for tourist guides and use an electronic system to issue business start-up licenses for tourism companies.

It also intends to activate the Ministries of Tourism and Education’s joint committee to include the promotion of tourism in the primary school curriculum.

The plan does not include any solutions to security issues, including kidnapping and attacking tourists.