Tourism in Yemen

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Tourism in Yemen refers to tourism to Yemen. Traditionally, Yemen has been a tourism centre for centuries as it is at the middle of the trade routes of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Tourism played a fundamental role of the region in global trade and has remained so until the 20th century. Afterwards, there has been a sharp decline in tourism since the 2011 Yemen Crisis. The rise of extremism caused fear in prospective foreign tourists to Yemen.[1] Yemen has four World Heritage Sites,[2] some of the sites have been attacked including historic old city of Sana'a.[3][4] In 2015 UNESCO declared its plan to protect the world heritage sites of Yemen.[5]

"It is evident that the destruction of their culture directly affects the identity, dignity and future of the Yemeni people, and moreover their ability to believe in the future"[5]

-Irina Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO)

Visa policy[edit]

Citizens of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Hong Kong and member states of Gulf Co-operation Council do not require visas when entering Yemen. Tourist and business visas do not need an exit visa prior to departure. Those who are staying in Yemen for more than two weeks are required to register at their nearest police station. Failure to register can result in a fine of YR 5,000 at the time of departure.[6][7]

Travel advice[edit]

Various nations have published travel advice for their citizens who visit Yemen. This advice usually includes matters relating to safety and security, terrorism, local laws and customs and entry requirements.[8] Advice given by the United Kingdom says to respect local Islamic customs. They advise visitors to dress modestly and to refrain from drinking alcohol in public; especially during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The UK also warns about possible terror attacks in tourist places or the kidnap of foreigners by militant groups. Majority of the world's countries have advised their citizens regarding the current situation in Yemen and have discouraged travelling to the country until the issues concerning terrorism are solved or managed properly. However, some nations, such as the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, have also noted that once terrorism has been managed properly, tourism partnerships can be offered to Yemen immediately.[9][10]


There are four World Heritage Sites in Yemen – three are cultural while one is natural. The cultural sites are the Historic Town of Zabid, Old City of Sana'a and Old Walled City of Shibam while the natural site is Socotra Archipelago.[2] In addition, Yemen has identified 10 sites that meet the standards of World Heritage Centre, namely Archaeological site of Marib, Historic city of Saada, Historic City of Thula, Madrasa Amiriya of Rada, Jibla and its surroundings, Jabal Haraz, Jabal Bura, Balhaf/Burum coastal area, the Hawf Area, and Sharma/Jethmun coastal area.[11]

In July 2015 a two-day meeting was held in UNESCO headquarters in Paris which established an "Emergency Action Plan" in response to the widespread destruction of cultural sites in Yemen. The emergency action plan will coordinate the international response of "Unite4Heritage".[5][12] Yemen's ambassador to UNESCO Ahmed Sayyad urged the world community to co-operate tor protection the heritage sites in Yemen. He said that the historic cities in Yemen are not just "my cities" but these are the cities of every Yemini, every Arab, every Muslim and every man and woman in the world whatever their religion. It is the responsibility of everyone to protect the heritage sites of Yemen from destruction.[12]



  1. ^ "Travel and Tourism in Yemen". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  2. ^ a b UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Yemen – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  3. ^ "Yemen: the Unesco heritage slowly being destroyed". The Daily Telegraph. 2015-06-16. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  4. ^ "World heritage sites attacked in Yemen's Sanaa". Al Jazeera English. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  5. ^ a b c "United Nations News Centre – UNESCO launches plan to safeguard Yemen's cultural heritage sites". 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  6. ^ Yemen Tourism Promotion Board. "Visa Information". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  7. ^ "Yemen stops issuing tourist visas on arrival to foreigners". Arab News. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  8. ^ "Yemen travel advice". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  9. ^ "Yemen travel advice". GOV.UK. 2014-09-21. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  10. ^ "Yemen travel advice". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen's Cultural Heritage announced | UNESCO". 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-11-11.