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Tourism Festival to be Held Next December in Empty Quarter
  Written By: Moneer Al-Omari (YEMEN POST STAFF) 
  Article Date:
September 15, 2008



Tourism Minister Nabil Al-Faqih told media that Mareb province's Ramalat Al-Saba'teen will host a tourism festival next December. The festival is considered the first of its type on the edge of the Empty Quarter desert. 

As he was paying a visit to Mareb on Thursday, Al-Faqih further hinted that this festival would help promote culture and environment tourism and revealed that citizens of Mareb, Al-Jawf, Shabwa and Hadramout will participate in this festival.

He also stressed that his ministry will work for promoting handcrafts through establishing a market for such industries in Mareb, a province that witnessed deadly attacks and targeted a convoy of Spanish Tourists in July 2007.

As for the contribution of Tourism Sector to Yemen's economy, Al-Faqih pointed out that tourism sector contributed YR 80 billion in 2007 when the country received hundreds of thousands of tourists, mostly from neighboring Gulf countries.

Over 50,000 people are currently employed in the tourism industry including travel and tourism agencies, hotels, guiding, etc. while another 90,000 are working indirectly in this sector including transportation, distribution and retailing.

Recently, Tourism Ministry has been organizing different tourist activities in some Yemeni provinces in an effort to promote and attract tourists from across the globe. It also seeks to improve the country's image before others especially after it witnessed a series of attacks against foreign tourists and interests over the last few years. 

The ministry has been running Sana'a Summer Festival for the last three years and the festival comprises different shows, activities and exhibitions. These activities are staged in the open theatre of the Old City of Sana'a.

In mid August, the Ministry of Tourism launched the activities of the Dhamar Province's Asa'ad Al-Kamel Festival. This was the festival's second year. The festival seeked to reflect the Yemeni culture and its diversified traditions.

Likewise, the ministry organizes an annual festival in Ibb and August's activities were held for the sixth time.  The festival is meant for advertising, reflecting and promoting tourism in the ever-green governorate, especially when it is declared as the Tourism Capital of Yemen.

There is also Qarnaw Heritage and Cultural Tourism festival which is staged in Al-Jawf province.  This festival seeks to promote the environmental tourism (Eco-tourism) in the province located at the edges of the Empty Quarter Desert.

The festival's activities there include camel, car and horse racing's. It provides as well an opportunity for mountain climbing and site-seeing of the archeological attractions of the province that was once the cradle for ancient civilizations.

Similarly, Hadramout hosts annually what is known to be Al-Baldah Tourism Festival and it is staged in its capital city, Al-Mukalla. Other festivals are held elsewhere in Yemen; however, these activities are not promoted in the right way.