(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 now it appears 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. While she is trying to promote tourism, the U.S. State Department is warning American tourists to avoid the region. 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, while traveling to Yemen is not for everyone, the country is said to be stunningly beautiful — even without salmon fishing.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN
Lauren del Valle, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN