Years-long military conflict badly impacts tourism sector in Yemen

(File photo)

Many sites and old cities in Yemen have long been internationally renowned tourism attractions. However, during the more than seven-year-long military conflict between the government and Houthi militia, intense battles have engulfed the impoverished Arab country and shut its doors to foreign tourists since 2015.

The ongoing fights and blocked roads also badly affected local tourism and travel sectors.

In the strategic southern port city of Aden, beaches, resorts and entertainment parks were used to attract thousands of families from various Yemeni provinces before the eruption of civil war.

In Al Buraiqeh district of Aden, some families are still visiting an abandoned teleferic.

“Before the eruption of this war, I visited this place that includes the only teleferic in Aden and enjoyed nice weekends here along with my family members near the sea,” said a citizen named as Ahmed Zaid.

“The war ended in Aden, but the local authorities and investors didn’t repair this teleferic for this beautiful tourist site,” he said.

As a result of the ongoing military operations in Yemen, previous reports indicated that the losses of the tourism sector have exceeded six billion U.S. dollar since 2015.

Many tourist agencies across Yemen were closed completely and laying off thousands of workers in this sector.

“Many Yemeni families were heavily reliant on tourism-related businesses that were working without interruptions before the eruption of the war,” said Wael Abdul-Rahman, an unemployed worker.

“I used to work as a receptionist at a local tourist hotel here in Aden, and also two of my brothers were working as waiters at the restaurant in the same hotel which was destroyed and abandoned,” said Abdul-Rahman.

The local authorities in Aden are unable to repair and reconstruct many vital tourist institutions that were damaged during the war between the government forces and the Houthis.

An official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that “only a serious support from other foreign countries will help the local authorities to rebuild Aden’s destroyed infrastructure, including the tourism sector.”

The ongoing fighting between the two warring rivals with daily Saudi-led airstrikes plunged the most impoverished Arab country in the Middle East into more chaos and violence.