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Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher le Dimanche 10 Mai 2015
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Senegal Airline, a company on the brink of economic disaster….

Airline taxes should soon be reduced


Despite the suppression of the visa and the promise of a reduction of airline taxes, Senegal has a difficult time finding its place in the global tourism offer. French travelers are now very reluctant of visiting a country that they strongly associate to some African destinations that are advised against visiting by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A disaffection that hurts the company Senegal Airlines, and that discourages the tour-operators who are still there.



Senegal has a difficult time seducing French travelers. But some tour-operators keep scheduling trips to the destination. DR-JDL
Senegal has a difficult time seducing French travelers. But some tour-operators keep scheduling trips to the destination. DR-JDL
It is not easy to be a touristic destination in Africa in this day and age.

Senegal, that was previously popular amongst French travelers, is now suffering an amalgam with its neighbors Mauritania and Mali who scare travelers.

With the addition of the Ebola epidemic, of which Senegal is an unfair victim despite the absence of declared cases.

A difficult situation that also hurts Senegal Airlines, that is today on the brink of economic disaster.

The national company puts the blame on a debt of 75 million euros and five months of delay on the payment of 229 employees.

At the start of the year, Mayoro Racine, its General Director, had confirmed to the newspaper Jeune Afrique of being in discussions with a Gulf company, through the structure of a partial recapitalization scheme

Faced with such an unstable economic situation, Senegal Airlines was excluded from the BSP France a few days ago.

However, it remains in code share with the company Corsair. A partnership that began in November 2012, just when Corsair had been chosen by the government to service Dakar with regular flights.

It placed itself as a challenger to Air France and assures having made airplane tickets cheaper by 33% in two years. Rates that have enabled it to seduce 35,000 passengers between October 2014 and March 2015.

Some tour-operators keep on believing in the destination

But Air France is not done yet.

The company increased its capacities by 10% this year, by positioning a Boeing 777-300 that is better adapted to the expectations of the VFR market (visiting friends and relatives.)

In 2014, the company carried 200,000 passengers of which half were French and 30% Senegalese.

It has a contract with Karavel as well as allotments with Look Voyages. Commitments that were reduced following the disaffection of the destination.

“I see no sign of recovery,” laments Patrice Caradec, CEO of the group Transat France.

The reservations on his historical Lookéa, the Club Royal Baobab, are at a 40% drop. And the first orders for next Winter, especially for groups, are not looking any better.

“The hotel is half filled by loyal clients, but that’s not enough. Despite promotions at less than 1,000 euros for a week, we are unable to fill up,” stated a disillusioned Patrice Caradec.

This gloominess does not effect the enthusiasm of Voyamar, present in the country since 20 years.

Even though it only had 2,200 clients travel last year, three time less than usual, Aurélien Aurfort, the Deputy General Director, insists on maintaining it in his program.

He even expects to increase his commitments by 15% next year, but only if the government keeps its promise to decrease airline taxes.

It had already made a first step in favor of the tourism sector by reducing the visa early April.

Unfortunately, a lot more will need to be done to convince travelers to return to this region with a high potential but that is left aside today.

Nianing Mansion has closed down

The disaffection of French tourists has led to a first victim: the Nianing Mansion closed down.

The hotel had expected to shorten its season by stopping its activity last march, as we have explained in our columns.

But due to the financial difficulties and the decrease of the fill rate, it was time face the facts.

All of the employees were laid off, and the property is now on sale. It’s not sure that the buyer turns it into a hotel, but rather into villas.

Located close to M’Bour on the Little Coast, 90km south of Dakar, it worked particularly with Nouvelles Frontières, Thomas Cook or even Salaün Holidays.

Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher
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