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Travel and Tourism in Senegal

Strong recovery after economic downturn

Inbound tourism in Senegal has emerged well from the global economic crisis, achieving
growth in arrivals. While over 2009 and 2010 arrivals from various source countries
registered either a slowdown in growth in number of trips or a decline in terms of number of
trips, in 2011 there was growth in number of trips across arrivals, particularly in arrivals from
Belgium, France and USA. France remained by far the leading source country of arrivals in
2011, with arrivals from France accounting for a share of 26% of number of trips. Also, in
2011, arrivals in Senegal benefited from a trend among tourists who chose not to visit North
African countries such as Tunisia and Egypt due to security concerns.
Huge potential for travel and tourism
Travel and tourism is growing in importance to the economy of Senegal and it is slowly
beginning to realise its potential. The country has an array of attractions, ranging from
beaches and desert to nature as well as activities and the climate is warm all year round.
According to trade sources, in 2011, travel and tourism was the second largest contributor to
the economy in Senegal and the government has recognised its value in terms of job
creation and regional development. Travel and tourism is also considered a priority in terms
of foreign investment as it has been identified by the government as having strong economic
potential. As a result, both foreign and local investors have access to taxation incentives and
customs exemptions.
Infrastructure starts to witness improvement
The ageing tourism infrastructure of Senegal finally began to witness improvement towards
the end of the review period, following investment from overseas. Intercontinental Hotel
Group has opened its first outlet in the country, which is located in Dakar. The African
Development Bank has played an important role in lending funds to a number of
transportation projects which will improve facilities and benefit tourism. These projects
include the construction of a toll road from Dakar to Diamniadio, on-going construction of the
new Blaise Diagne International Airport (at an additional investment of U$S70 million) and
the construction of a sea port and container terminal.
Air Senegal takes to the skies
After the demise of Air Senegal International in 2009, a new national airline, Air Senegal,
emerged and started flying in 2011. Air Senegal is half privately owned and it operates three
A320 aircraft, offering flights to 13 regional and domestic destinations in West Africa from its
base in Dakar. The airline plans to start flying to destinations in Europe and Asia by 2013.
Through links with Emirates Airlines Dakar is connected to onward routes from Dubai.
Internet payments remain minimal
According to trade sources, consumers in Senegal are reasonably well connected to the
internet, with over one million users. However, travel and tourism payments still tend to be
made offline as consumers have yet to embrace online payments. Whilst international
organisations can process payments over the internet, many local companies do not have
the facilities to process online payments and this has hampered the development of internet
COUNTRY REPORT Dec 2012 | Pages: 28