Travel and Tourism - Algeria - February 2014
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It is 52 years since Algeria became independent, and today the country is hardly recognisable from the troubled nation it was in those early decades – years that were marked by a fragile economy, political upheaval and bloody violence. A strong hydrocarbon industry has been the main driver behind Algeria’s impressive economic growth and greater political stability. An over-reliance on gas and oil exports has, however, left the country vulnerable to fluctuations in demand for and the price of hydrocarbons. Recognising this, Algeria’s government is trying to bring greater diversity to the Algerian economy, with tourism identified as a sector that could make a significant contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).
In 2011, Algeria was the third most visited country by international tourists in North Africa, with almost 2.4 million arrivals, according to the UNWTO. However, it welcomed just a fraction of foreign visitors when compared to neighbouring Tunisia and Morocco, who recorded 4.7 million and 9.3 million foreign tourists respectively in 2011. In 2010, UNWTO data show that Tunisia recorded almost 7 million international arrivals with the downturn in 2011 due to the impact of the Arab Spring. These statistics highlight the fact that Algeria’s tourism industry is currently underdeveloped despite its varied attractions, which range from dramatic scenery and a pristine coast through to hospitable people and a rich culture and history.
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