(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The reputed home of the Queen of Sheba, Yemen, has been at the crossroads as tensions persist between the north and the south, but refuting those exaggerated reportage, the Yemen Tourism and Promotion Board (YTPB) has announced a billion-dollar tourism investment programme designed to increase visitors to the country.
The Deputy Minister for Fourism Development, Omar Babelgheith, said that the country was embarking on an ambitious marketing and investment programme that will see six major projects built in the next five years.
These include the Midi coast project in Haja province Doyma Island; Al Mark Island in Al Hudaida, which are both located on the Red Sea. In addition, there will be projects on the Indian Ocean, one on Ras Al Araa-Khour Omira coast in Lahj province near Aden; Dabdab coast in Hadramout province; and Jasolit coast in Al Muhra province.
These projects will comprise modern self contained resorts and well-designed high class complexes.
These developments are estimated to be worth around 1 billion and each project is worth 150-250 million.
Apart from these large-scale schemes is another major project comprising 44 other small to medium projects all across the Republic, including three-star hotels of international standards and a variety of resorts from mountain resorts, stone resorts, mud house resorts and first class restaurants. There will also be eco-friendly motels. This project will cost 78 million, Babelgheith said.
Babelgheith accepted that Yemen has been the focus of considerable negative reporting within the global media, tourism in the country, he said has remained relatively stable for the past few years.
Tourism revenue reached to 903 million in 2009, a 2 per cent increase compared to 2008. We are buoyed by the news that during this years first quarter, we have witnessed an increase of over 6 per cent in the total number of international visitors compared to the same period last year, he said.
This was especially encouraging given these tourists came during the low season. If you also take into account world travel alert issued by some governments and combine it with the negative international media coverage " reflecting a very inaccurate perception of safety and security in our country " the number of people discovering for themselves the numerous world class attractions Yemen offers is growing, said Babelgheith.
By Raziqueh Hussain