Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Algeria Seeks to Attract Tourists to Neglected Cultural, Scenic Glories

A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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Algeria Seeks to Attract Tourists to Neglected Cultural, Scenic Glories

A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A view shows the Santa Cruz chapel in the city of Oran, Algeria May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

Algeria wants to attract more visitors to the cultural and scenic treasures of Africa's largest country, shedding its status as a tourism backwater and expanding the sector.

The giant north African country offers Roman and Islamic sites, beaches and mountains just an hour's flight from Europe, and haunting Saharan landscapes, where visitors can sleep on dunes under the stars and ride camels with Tuareg nomads, according to Reuters.

But while tourist-friendly Morocco welcomed 14.5 million visitors in 2023, bigger, richer Algeria hosted just 3.3 million foreign tourists, according the tourism ministry.

About 1.2 million of those holiday-makers were Algerians from the disapora visiting families.

The lack of travellers is testimony to Algeria's neglect of a sector that remains one of world tourism's undiscovered gems.

As Algeria's oil and gas revenues grew in the 1960s and 70s, successive governments lost interest in developing mass tourism. A descent into political strife in the 1990s pushed the country further off the beaten track.

But while security is now much improved, Algeria needs to tackle an inflexible visa system and poor transport links, as well as grant privileges to local and foreign private investors to enable tourism to flourish, analysts say.

Saliha Nacerbay, General Director of the National Tourism Office, outlined plans to attract 12 million tourists by 2030 - an ambitious fourfold increase.

"To achieve this, we, as the tourism and traditional industry sector, are seeking to encourage investments, provide facilities to investors, build tourist and hotel facilities," she said, speaking at the International Tourism and Travel Fair, hosted in Algiers from May 30 to June 2.

Algeria has plans to build hotels and restructure and modernize existing ones. The tourism ministry said that about 2,000 tourism projects have been approved so far, 800 of which are currently under construction.

The country is also restoring its historical sites, with 249 locations earmarked for tourism expansion. Approximately 70 sites have been prepared, and restoration plans are underway for 50 additional sites, officials said.

French tourist Patrick Lebeau emphasized the need to improve infrastructure to fully realise Algeria's tourism prospects.

"Obviously, there is a lot of tourism potential, but much work still needs to be done to attract us," Lebeau said.

Tourism and travel provided 543,500 jobs in Algeria in 2021, according to the Statista website. In contrast, tourism professionals in Morocco estimate the sector provides 700,000 direct jobs in the kingdom, and many more jobs indirectly.

 

 

 



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Dubai Culture, Khalifa University Sign MoU to Support Scientific Research on Archaeological Excavations

The MoU stipulates support for ongoing excavation works through the use of remote sensing satellite technology. WAM
The MoU stipulates support for ongoing excavation works through the use of remote sensing satellite technology. WAM
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Dubai Culture, Khalifa University Sign MoU to Support Scientific Research on Archaeological Excavations

The MoU stipulates support for ongoing excavation works through the use of remote sensing satellite technology. WAM
The MoU stipulates support for ongoing excavation works through the use of remote sensing satellite technology. WAM

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Khalifa University of Science and Technology aimed at enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise and best practices in areas related to archaeological excavations in Dubai, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

The agreement also facilitates the use of advanced technologies in the Saruq Al Hadid and Al Ashoosh sites to further bolster studies and research on the findings of both sites, WAM said.

The MoU stipulates support for ongoing excavation works through the use of remote sensing satellite technology and advanced geophysical survey techniques developed by Khalifa University scientists and researchers to uncover any buried structures, tombs, or remains at the Saruq al-Hadid and Al Ashoosh archaeological sites.

Advanced processing techniques for discoveries will be applied, enabling researchers to create three-dimensional models of features and place them within their archaeological and environmental contexts, WAM said.