Algeria Seeks to Attract Tourists to Neglected Cultural, Scenic Glories

A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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Algeria Seeks to Attract Tourists to Neglected Cultural, Scenic Glories

A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

Algeria wants to attract more visitors to the cultural and scenic treasures of Africa's largest country, shedding its status as a tourism backwater and expanding the sector.

The giant north African country offers Roman and Islamic sites, beaches and mountains just an hour's flight from Europe, and haunting Saharan landscapes, where visitors can sleep on dunes under the stars and ride camels with Tuareg nomads, according to Reuters.

But while tourist-friendly Morocco welcomed 14.5 million visitors in 2023, bigger, richer Algeria hosted just 3.3 million foreign tourists, according the tourism ministry.

About 1.2 million of those holiday-makers were Algerians from the disapora visiting families.

The lack of travellers is testimony to Algeria's neglect of a sector that remains one of world tourism's undiscovered gems.

As Algeria's oil and gas revenues grew in the 1960s and 70s, successive governments lost interest in developing mass tourism. A descent into political strife in the 1990s pushed the country further off the beaten track.

But while security is now much improved, Algeria needs to tackle an inflexible visa system and poor transport links, as well as grant privileges to local and foreign private investors to enable tourism to flourish, analysts say.

Saliha Nacerbay, General Director of the National Tourism Office, outlined plans to attract 12 million tourists by 2030 - an ambitious fourfold increase.

"To achieve this, we, as the tourism and traditional industry sector, are seeking to encourage investments, provide facilities to investors, build tourist and hotel facilities," she said, speaking at the International Tourism and Travel Fair, hosted in Algiers from May 30 to June 2.

Algeria has plans to build hotels and restructure and modernize existing ones. The tourism ministry said that about 2,000 tourism projects have been approved so far, 800 of which are currently under construction.

The country is also restoring its historical sites, with 249 locations earmarked for tourism expansion. Approximately 70 sites have been prepared, and restoration plans are underway for 50 additional sites, officials said.

French tourist Patrick Lebeau emphasized the need to improve infrastructure to fully realise Algeria's tourism prospects.

"Obviously, there is a lot of tourism potential, but much work still needs to be done to attract us," Lebeau said.

Tourism and travel provided 543,500 jobs in Algeria in 2021, according to the Statista website. In contrast, tourism professionals in Morocco estimate the sector provides 700,000 direct jobs in the kingdom, and many more jobs indirectly.

 

 

 



Saudi Arabia Participates in UNESCO World Heritage Committee in India

The Saudi delegation, led by the advisor to the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Engineer Mohammed bin Youssef Al-Aidaroos, participated in various activities during the session that were supported by the Kingdom. (SPA)
The Saudi delegation, led by the advisor to the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Engineer Mohammed bin Youssef Al-Aidaroos, participated in various activities during the session that were supported by the Kingdom. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Participates in UNESCO World Heritage Committee in India

The Saudi delegation, led by the advisor to the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Engineer Mohammed bin Youssef Al-Aidaroos, participated in various activities during the session that were supported by the Kingdom. (SPA)
The Saudi delegation, led by the advisor to the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Engineer Mohammed bin Youssef Al-Aidaroos, participated in various activities during the session that were supported by the Kingdom. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia -- represented by the Saudi National Committee for Education, Culture and Science and the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to UNESCO and the Heritage Commission -- is participating in the 46th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

The session is taking place from July 21 to 31 in New Delhi, India, and will be attended by representatives from 195 member states who ratified the World Heritage Convention of 1972.

The Saudi delegation, led by the advisor to the Saudi National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Engineer Mohammed bin Youssef Al-Aidaroos, participated in various activities during the session that were supported by the Kingdom.

The delegation delivered speeches highlighting Saudi Arabia's interest, support, and contributions to UNESCO's efforts to preserve world heritage. Some of the activities included discussions on the digital heritage platform, capacity building in African countries, and an event on Islamic World Heritage organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO).

Additionally, the Saudi delegation met with representatives from other official delegations attending the session to strengthen cooperation in heritage conservation.

The digital heritage platform, a collaborative effort between Saudi Arabia and UNESCO, is an online platform that utilizes cutting-edge digital technologies to explore UNESCO's cultural and natural world heritage sites as well as intangible cultural heritage.

The World Heritage Committee will review a proposal to add 27 new sites from various regions worldwide to the World Heritage List. It will also assess the preservation status of 124 sites currently included on the list, including 56 that are categorized as being in danger.

The World Heritage Committee, consisting of representatives from 21 countries elected by the 195 parties to the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, oversees the implementation of the convention.