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Yemen suffers ’99 percent’ slump in tourism
Kidnappings lead to huge fall in tourism revenues – a disaster for Yemen’s fragile and struggling economy.
May 29, 2010 2:55 by Samuel Potter
Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, is experiencing a huge drop in the number of tourists visiting the country, reports Maktoob.com.
A spate of kidnappings has dramatically damaged the country’s image abroad, and the result has been a huge decline in tourist numbers. The collapse is a disaster for the country, as an estimated 3 percent of GDP is produced by tourism, says the report.
The kidnapping of two Americans by armed tribesmen this week is another nail in the coffin of Yemen’s tourist industry, tour guide Mohammad al-Hubaishi said.
“That’s it – 99 percent of tourism has stopped as a result of the kidnappings,” he said.
Kidnapping is common in Yemen – hostages are often used by tribal leaders to press demands on the government. Most kidnappings last just a few days and end with no harm to the hostages, says the report, though there have been exceptions.
More than 40 percent of Yemen’s population of 23 million live on less than $2 a day. The tourist industry was thought to be worth $900 million in 2009, says the report.