Almost no Western tourists have traveled to Yemen between 1999 and 2000, raising fears that the country’s tourism sector is nearing collapse. The dramatic drop in the number of visitors comes in the wake of the kidnap and murder of four European tourists in the district of Abin in December of 1998, according to Al-Riyadh daily.
More than 200 foreigners, mostly Western nationals and more than 20 of them Germans, have been abducted by Yemen's unruly tribes in the past decade and used as bargaining chips in disputes with the government or with foreign oil companies. Almost all the hostage-takings have been resolved without bloodshed.
Another blow was dealt to the country’s tourism sector following the bombing of the US warship USS Cole, which anchored in the port of Aden late last year.
Consequently, the Yemeni tourism sector is estimated to have lost out on annual revenues of $200,000in the past two years, based on the average yearly tourism revenues in the years 1996 to1998.
About 35,000 people are employed by the tourism industry in Yemen. Various travel facilities and hotels anticipating bankruptcy have demanded that the authorities provide them with tax exemptions and other financial aid. — (MENA Report)
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