Sana’a Yemen -
When Hollywood released a romantic, independent film this year called “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” it was quite a surprise, at least to the Yemenis, that movie goers would be inspired to try to travel to one of the most dangerous hotspots in the world.
Yemen, a small desert country in the Middle East bordered by Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Red Sea, is largely known as a breeding ground for terrorists, not fish. But when I traveled to Yemen recently, I found that the dream depicted in the film has taken hold — at least among some would-be tourists.
As executive director of Yemen’s tourism board, Fatima Huraiba has one of the hardest jobs the country — which the U.S. State Department warns American tourists to avoid. She says she has been receiving emails from people around the world who have seen the film and hope to come there to fish.
Even in the fictional film, salmon fishing in Yemen is presented as a challenge, but Huraiba says it is impossible. In addition to the violence and poverty, Yemen is desperate for water.
Nevertheless, my travels to Yemen, while not for everyone, do illustrate what a stunningly beautiful country Yemen is — even without salmon fishing.
ABC’s Richard Coolidge and Cindy Smith contributed to this report