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Tourism policy for Algeria checklist Tourism policy for Algeria checklist
by Joseph Gatt
2019-12-26 11:24:01
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The first question you want to ask is who are the tourist groups? For Algeria, the potential market is for the following tourists:

-Second, third, fourth generation Muslim Algerians residing overseas (mostly in France and Canada).

-Second, third, fourth generation European Algerians (who have French citizenship).

alger01_400_03-Moroccans, Tunisians and Egyptians (for proximity reasons).

-People from the Arab world (as in Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrians, people from the Arabian Peninsula) to a lesser extent.

-Second, third and fourth generation immigrants who grew up surrounded by Algerian immigrants (mostly the children of Spanish, Portuguese, Moroccan, Tunisian, Senegalese, Cameroonian, Congolese or Togolese or children of immigrants from the Ivory coast who reside in France).

-East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese, along with the upper middle class from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia and so on).

-Europeans and North Americans of all ages.

So here's what the tourism scene should look like.

For Europeans and North Americans of all ages: the younger ones like to hang out at cheap hotels or hostels. So you have to build cheap hotels and hostels, with a large lobby area where tourists like to hang out and socialize. You want to build restaurants or small eateries around the hostels, which include vegetarian and vegan food. Favorites will be garantita (baked, salty chickpea and flour sandwich, vegan-friendly) or m'hajeb (thin dough stuffed with tomato sauce and onions, vegan-friendly) along with a couple of restaurants that serve couscous, tajin or chorba-bourek or local fish or chicken dishes. Avoid panini, cheeseburger or shawarma restaurants, or make sure that's not the only thing being sold surrounding hostels and hotels.

So young tourists like to eat and socialize at hostels. They tend not to venture out too much, tend to find “informative” or “information-driven” or “history-driven” tourism “very boring.” So you want to organize concerts, musical events, theater, sports events, or other tournaments or competitions instead. You want hostels by the beach for example, and want to offer an occasional concert on the beach along with a surfing or wind surfing or kayak competition for example. In sum, young tourists from Europe and North America like the thrill that socializing with like-minded tourists involves. And they like to jump from one city to the next. Some might spend 3 days in Oran, then move for 3 days in Algiers, before spending 3 days in Constantine, before moving to Tunisia, and if they have time and money left, Egypt.

The older European and North American tourists like to rest a little bit at a hotel with a resort (nice swimming pool, excellent food and perhaps a nice beach) and will take a “time-out” by going on an organized tour. In Turkey for example, the organized tour usually involves 1 day in Ephesus, 1 day in Pamukkale and 1 day in Capadoccia. So you want to offer organized tours involving one day in Tipaza, one day in El-Djamila and one day in Timgad for example or something along those lines. When older tourists are done with that three day tour, they usually go back to their hotel and spend a night or two before they move back home.

For young tourists, you want excellent hostel managers who know everything from local hospitals to how to deal with foreign customers. Managing a hostel is often a tough job, because young clients can go crazy, sometimes deal with the police, and sometimes adult “Islamic” tourists accidentally book rooms there and are offended by all the “Haram” they see. So a good hostel manager should have a good address book and know how to redirect Islamic tourists to more Islamic-friendly hostels.

Dealing with East Asian tourists

You want tours for East Asians to include the following:

-A shopping and picture tour of Algiers, making parallels with Albert Camus' novel “the Outsider.” You want to explain that those were the streets Mersault strolled in. You want to take them shopping to Downtown Algiers (Alger Centre) and want to make sure shops there are of excellent quality. You then want to take them to places like “les trois horloges” and “place du 1er mai” before taking them to the Casbah and to the port. The more shopping at Ryadh El Fath.

-You then want to take them to Tipasa of course, then perhaps Bejaia because that's Zidane's hometown and many Asians love Zinedine Zidane. For those who wish, you could take them to Sidi Bel Abbes and Oran, while explaining that Sidi Bel Abbes was the hometown of Marcel Cerdan, Edith Piaf's boxer boyfriend who died in a plane crash, and who Edith Piaf dedicated her song “je ne regrette rien” to. Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan are very popular in East Asia, as in most countries cruel love stories are experienced first-hand.

Algerian immigrant (or friends of Algerian immigrant) tourists

They often want to visit family, the graves of their ancestors, try out the food. Sometimes they will stay with friends and family, other times they will come with friends and family. So you want family-friendly hotels and restaurants for them.

Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian and other Arab tourists

They are looking for a cheap alternative to Europe or Dubai or Tokyo or whatever. So you want prices to be very reasonable for them, and you want them to have access to both good shopping and modest shopping venues. They often want to relax at the beach, do a little bit of shopping, and try out some local food. Some come with friends, others with family, but they rarely come alone. Some are also looking to escape their family and workplace stress and want a nice hotel with lots of cheap beer and wine.

Notes on geography

Investing on the entire country would be ridiculous. There are so many beautiful sights, but you want to pick five or six sights and develop those.

My recommendation would be to invest in the following areas: Oran, Tlemcen and Sidi Bel Abbess (for Moroccan tourists, in some cases Asian tourists). Algiers and Tipaza (for all tourists). Bejaia and perhaps Skikda (for all tourists). Constantine and Annaba (for Tunisian and Egyptian tourists). Tizi Ouzou (for immigrant tourists). I would limit investments on Ghardaia and the Sahara desert, and make those destinations very expensive, to limit the tourist inflow. I would encourage “tours” of Djamila and Timgad but would not build hotels there (perhaps one or two very small hotels for emergencies.)

Notes on transportation

Algeria will need to work on public restrooms around motorways and make sure they are clean. Algeria also needs to invest in rest areas, restaurants and small shops on gas stations in resting areas. The more public restrooms you build, the cleaner the public restrooms are, the more likely tourists will come back.

Car rental services should be available and cheaper. A market for motorcycles should be available, as European and North American tourists like to drive around in motorcycles.

Notes on guidebooks

Many Asian, North American and European young tourists like to travel around the country with a guidebook. Guidebooks should contain recommendations on where to eat, what to eat, where to sleep, what transportation to take, and what to be careful about. Such guidebooks should be available in as many languages as possible, and should be honest, truthful and updated very regularly.

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