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Senegal has allocated €6 million to win back tourists

3 million visitors expected by 2023


Senegal has allocated €6 million to create a national promotion agency, boost tourism communication in the country and bring in 3 million visitors by 2023. This is an ambitious plan for a destination that must rethink its image on the French market.



Senegal’s new Minister of Tourism Senegal wants to do everything possible to attract French travelers. DR
Senegal’s new Minister of Tourism Senegal wants to do everything possible to attract French travelers. DR
After years of disregard of the tourist sector, the new national government has unveiled a strategic plan that aims for 1.5 million tourists in 2016 and 3,000,000 in 2023.

France, as its number one issuer in the market with approximately 430,000 visitors out of a million hosted annually, is obviously concerned.

"We intend to strengthen our presence in France and we do not exclude the option of an open tourist representation" says Oumar Gueye, the new Minister of Tourism and Transport, the successor of singer Youssou Ndour .

Indeed, since the closure of the tourist office 8 years ago, only one person is charge of this sector within the embassy: Sawdatou Ndongo.

The Senegal has released an annual budget of six million euros to launch a new tourism promotion agency abroad.

Approximately 30% of this budget should be devoted to the promotion in France, Belgium, Spain and Italy. It will include the organization of study tours that should take place this year, as soon as the TO partners are found.

"We want to accelerate the pace and capitalize on the tourism potential of Senegal," says the Minister. He hopes to emphasize on the strengths of a Francophone destination, located less than five hours from Paris and still little known on the market.

Investing in hotel infrastructure and airline companies

But the task at hand is huge, since the country has not been promoting itself for years.

Its hotel suffers from significant decay even if new projects are expected to emerge in the area of Joal Finio, Mbodiene (south of Dakar) or Pointe Sarène with the group One&Only.

Two new luxury hotels are under construction in Dakar, with one in Méridien.

As for air travel, the Minister welcomed the expansion of flights, which led to a 29% decrease in prices on the Paris-Dakar line for regular flights and to a 39% increase in sales.

But this new “open sky” certainly has not salvaged the crashing accounts of the national carrier Senegal Airlines, which is on the edge of bankruptcy.

Currently, the government is seeking investors to bail out the company. The name of South African Airways as been circulating, but negotiations are still far from being completed.

"Our national company is essential to synchronize our domestic flights to help develop many areas untouched by tourism," continued the Minister.

Indeed, French tourists vacation in the resort town of Saly, south of Dakar, through tours programmed by Fram, Look and TUI .

According to a study commissioned by the government, attendance of the resort has been increasing to almost 20%.

And this despite the erosion of beaches, which now seems to have stabilized .

But the government would like to develop other areas such as St. Louis in the north, the edge of Thies/Diourbel and the Casamance, where Clud Med still has a village.

However this last region is not recommended to travelers by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to political conflicts in the area.

Written by Laury-Anne Chomez - translate by Joséphine Foucher the 26/02/2014
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