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Travel and Tourism in Chad
Tourism development supported by growth in the country’s economy
Despite political instability in the region, Chad registered a good economic performance, with GDP growth of 7.2%, in 2012 and a projected increase of 7.4% in 2013. Growth in oil production should boost export revenue over the forecast period and could help finance the government’s public investment plan, as part of its strategy to make Chad an emerging economy. Tourism in Chad is a relatively minor industry, yet the government is increasingly taking steps to direct its energies and resources towards the growth and diversification of the country’s travel products, improving infrastructure and travel accommodation, as well as investing in programs to attract tourists. The country has been present at different tourism exhibitions and had outstanding visibility at the African Fare in Paris in April 2013 with the French president participating in the event.
Boom in travel accommodation supported by business tourism
After oil extraction and production companies were installed in the country, increased business exchange led to the further development of travel accommodation; in particular, several hotels were opened to satisfy the expectations of international travellers. Following a government plan at the end of 2011, the country has focused its attention on the development of a new quarter in the capital city N’Djamena, with the construction of new luxury hotels starting in 2012.
Transport infrastructure becomes a priority for the government
Problems with air companies (lack of licences and frequent crashes), underdeveloped paved roads and a lack of a driving culture make usage of transportation troubled in Chad, with it requiring more investment. In September 2012, the government received subsidies from the African Development Bank to provide asphalt coverage to roads from Ndjamena to Sarh and from Koumra to Sarh. At the beginning of 2013, new meetings with ministers were organised to encourage investors to plough money into the transport infrastructure. More projects are expected to continue the trend in future.
Saharan tourism potential
Chad offers great potential for Saharan tourism due to its landlocked nature, including a wealth of outstanding natural and cultural heritage. The country possesses substantial natural attractions, presenting a rich array of unique landscapes. However, most areas have remained underexploited due to the nation’s geographical remoteness and poor transportation infrastructure. The major area of desert tourism in Chad is the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (BET) region in the northern part of the country, which boasts plenty of noteworthy attractions such as sand dunes and Saharan fauna. This area is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of Chad and is a jewel among the world’s desert landscapes. As a result, the Chadian government needs to place emphasis on the development of Saharan tourism, a niche category that is becoming the principal attraction for the few tourists which visit the country.
Ecotourism is still not a priority for the country
Thanks to protection by the Chadian government and the European Union, the 754,000-acre Zakouma National Park was announced by Lonely Planet as one of the best places to see wildlife in Central Africa. The Chadian government needs to continue investing in and conserving natural resources for the benefit of not only the local population but also to transform tourism potential into a profitable industry. Strong emphasis must be placed on ecotourism development due to the country’s fabulous flora and fauna.
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