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vendredi 7 avril 2006

Algerians return to beaches


After a decade of terrorism, Algerian beaches are crowded again, with record numbers of visitors since 2000.
By Azzedine Bensouiah for Magharebia in Algiers (25/08/05)

(Getty Images: Algerian families at Tipaza Beach, 70km from Algiers)

Summer is coming to an end and Algerian beaches are still packed with visitors. It is a tangible sign that a decade of terrorism is receding from public consciousness.

With 1200km of coastline, Algeria has considerable tourism assets. But hotel infrastructure has not yet overcome years of stagnation, when domestic and international tourism levels were low.

The picture is changing. The region of Bejaia, 260km east of Algiers, has welcomed 20m visitors in the past few years. It has become the favourite tourist destination for Algerians, outpacing Oran, which is renowned for rai music, discos, and pleasant ambience.

Oran and Annaba have also been hurt by rising crime rates, with many families preferring the quiet and security of Bejaia.

Despite much private investment, tourist demand in Bejaia still exceeds regional ability to accommodate the visitors. Hotel capacity is a particular problem. As a result, real estate agencies are popping up all over the coast offering options such as villa rentals.

Other Algerian beaches also are in demand. But with even less hotel infrastructure than Bejaia, local people only visit beaches in Jijel or El Kala.

Jijel, though ravaged by terrorism, has one of the nicest coastlines in the world with red beaches, small islands, rocks and forests that extend to the sea.

In a more peaceful future, Algerian beaches hold promise for mass tourism as well as local tourism. Officials are now are planning to promote the country as a destination for foreign tourists.

Posté par Zighcult à 06:06 - Faits de société - Permalien [#]