Algeria has a diverse landscape and lots to offer travellers and it is the largest country in the continent of Africa. The main attraction in the country is the Saharan region where the never-ending sand and the mysterious and lively cities are enough to indulge even the most seasoned traveller’s imagination. Most Algerians greet tourists with warm welcomes and are happy to share their way of life with any guests to their country.
According to the British Backpacker Society (BBS), which promotes sustainable travel in countries with untapped tourism potential, Algeria’s small quota of foreign travellers and large swathes of nature makes it an ideal travel attraction compared to places that experience “over-tourism.” A team of tourism experts have ranked Algeria as the world’s best potential adventure travel destination for the next decade. Algeria offers a remarkable variety of opportunities for tourists including seaside tourism, Saharan tourism, mountain tourism and cultural tourism.
Here we will describe some of the top trends, statistics and facts about Algeria’s tourism industry.
Covid-19 and the tourism industry
Like all other countries, Algeria has also been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in several economic sectors. Algeria’s tourism sector is based on international and national tourists and experienced a total cessation of activity, just after the closure of national and international borders and airports, during the outbreak of the pandemic. This situation caused enormous losses which are still being assessed by the departments concerned.
But, the tourism sector can contribute to the economic recovery in Algeria after the confinement period. Domestic tourism will be the most sought after because of the great potential of Algeria, even in case of the closure of borders. It is of a much higher magnitude than previous crises due to its global scale and the general closure of travel, business and life activities. The holiday period is very important for all the tourists and travellers of the world, especially after the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore the country is finding ways to revitalize the tourism industry for both domestic and international tourists.
Pre- and Post-Pandemic Statistics and Trends
- In 2020, the tourism industry contributed around 4.7 billion U.S. dollars to Algeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- The value decreased by nearly 50% compared to 2019 and this decline was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted the global travel and tourism industry.
- The total number of domestic tourists staying in hotels and accommodation establishments in Algeria amounted to 1.4 million in 2020.
- The number of Algerian visitors staying in hotels in the countrydeclined sharply compared to the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In 2019, around 3.7 millionhotelguests in the country were Algerian tourists.
- The total number of nights spent by domestic tourists in Algeria amounted to nearly 2.2 million in 2020.
- In 2019, inbound tourists accounted for around 6.3 millionovernight stays in Algeria.
- In 2020, the available capacity of hotels and similar accommodation establishments was 2.91 beds per 1,000 inhabitants.
- Conversely, the lowest capacity was in 2011 and 2014, when there were 2.56 beds per 1,000 inhabitants.
- The majority of the tourists that travelled to Algeria in 2019 and 2020 were from African countries.
- However, the number of visitors from the Africancontinentdecreased significantly from almost 1.5 million in 2019 to 410,000 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contribution of Tourism In Algeria
- Travel and Tourismcontribute about 3.6% of GDP to Algeria’seconomy.
- In 2019, the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP (% of GDP) for Algeria was 6.7 %.
- Algeria’s contribution of travel and tourism to GDP (% of GDP) fluctuated substantially in recentyears, it tended to decrease from 2000 – 2019 period ending at 6.7 % in 2019.
- Algeria recorded a total of 591,000tourists in 2020, ranking 120th in the world in absolute terms.
- With 0.013tourists per resident, Algeria ranked 181st in the world. In NorthernAfrica, it ranked 6th.
- Algeria generated around 50.00 million US dollars in the tourism sector alone.
- On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 72 US Dollars.
- Conversely, the inhabitants of Algeria spend as much as 166 dollars a year when they spend vacations abroad.
- In 2020, internationaltourism expenditure in Algeria was 43 million U.S. dollars and all of this revenue was derived from leisuretravel.
- 2015 was the year with the highest expenditure of internationaltourists, with an expenditure of approximately 311 million U.S. dollars and the majority of this derived from leisure travel.
- Tunisia was the main country of origin of touriststravelling to Algeria as of 2020.
- In 2020, Tunisians accounted for 55% of the total tourist arrivals in Algeria.
- Other countries of origin among tourists visiting Algeria were France, Morocco, China, and Libya.
Other tourist-related trends and facts
- The magnificent limestone plateau in SaharanAlgeria known as the M’zab valley is considered to be of such historic significance that it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Exploring the ancient fortress cities in the M’zab valley is like taking a step back in time where life continues at a pace much different from the world’s modern cities.
- Located deep in the Saharan Algeria Region, the city of Tamanrasset is popular with backpackers and campers, providing facilities for budget travellers who enjoy sleeping under the stars, as well as for visitors more accustomed to star-rated hotels.
- Another UNESCOWorldHeritageSite located in the Saharan Algeria Region is the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park, which is well worth visiting.
- The town of Illizi is both the capital of the Illizi Province in the Saharan Algeria Region and one of the gateways to the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park.
- Illizi offers tourist accommodation and camping sites, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas.
- Visitors should be aware of tour guide scams in Algeria because it’s a classic scam in Africa and around the world where locals pose as tour guides, who are conartists looking for an easy way to take tourists’ money.
- Visitors should use a local licensed guide for any tours of the Kasbah area of Algiers.
- If visitors do wish to take a tour, organising one through their hotel is probably the best bet, or ask around.
- All foreign currency being brought into Algeria should be disclosed when entering the country by filling in an official form.
- Each person leaving Algeria will be stopped and asked if he/she has any foreign money may be searched.
- If the foreign currency was declared when entering the country, any disparity between the amount arrived with, and the amount held at departure must be accounted for.
- If a traveller fails to declare any currency when entering Algeria and is found to possess foreign currency while exiting the country, the penalties may be severe.
- People can’t take photos of police, military installations, government infrastructure or airports because there is a high level of security in all these places.
- Algeria isn’t the place if someone wishes to indulge in drugs. All kinds of drugs including hard or soft drugs are not allowed.
- The security situation makes independent travel difficult in the Sahara, but under the guidance of reputable tour operators, travellers can visit and explore the attractions in the region with peace of mind.
- Algeria is a conservative Islamic country, so visitors should dress conservatively and be respectful of the local culture, particularly in rural locations and around places of worship.
- Women travellers should also consider wearing a headscarf.
- Algeria has 1600 km of Mediterranean coastline with over 300 beaches.
- On the opposite spectrum, the Saharan desert offers breathtaking views of silent vastness.
- Algeria has several vibrant cities with two, Algiers and Oran, having over 1m inhabitants.
- The cities offer a variety of cultural offerings from Islamic, Christian and Berber cultures.
- There are seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in Algeria including ruined Roman, Christian and Islamic historic sites.
- A variety of seasonal festivals and traditional rituals in Algeria are included in the UNESCO list of “intangible cultural heritage”.
- Prehistoric rockart is found in the Saharan desert, as well as traditional nomadic tribes, whose lifestyle offers a stark contrast to the city life in Algiers or Oran.
- Algeria is a very safe country and was ranked the world’s 7th safest country by a USGallup poll in 2017.
- Algeria was ranked Africa’s happiest country by the 2017World Happiness Report.
- Algeria has Africa’s 3rd largest score on Human Development Index (2016).
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