Sahel instability hurts Algeria desert tourism
[Magharebia] Sahel instability is having a negative impact on Algeria's economy, with the tourism sector suffering the most.

December is usually a strong month for travel agencies, given the popularity of the desert as a winter holiday destination.

But fewer than 650 tourists visited Tamanrasset province this year, a 60 per cent drop since 2011. And some 80 travel agencies may have to close their doors.

"This situation is a result of the significant decline in foreign tourists during the last ten years, due to security conditions experienced by Algeria. It is also due to the further deterioration of the situation in the Sahel," the head of the Tamanrasset tourism agency association, Azzi Addi Ahmed, said on December 4th.

The closing of a number of the most attractive tourist locations in the Hoggar Mountains and Tassili exacerbates the problem. These popular destinations have been subject to stringent security measures.

The Directorate of Tourism for the province of Tamanrasset has informed all tourist agencies that the decision to close some resorts for security reasons would remain in force.

Askram, located 80 kilometres north of the town of Tamanrasset, will stay open. This region is frequented by tourists who seek to spend New Year's Eve enjoying the view of the last sunset, and contemplating the dawn of the first day of the New Year in the desert.

According to National Union of Travel Agencies (SNAV) president Bashir Djeribi, the crisis in northern Mali had a major impact on desert tourism in Algeria.

Posted by: Fred 2012-12-14