PARIS: Craftsmen, travel agencies and tourism professionals from twenty-four willayas in southern Algeria and tour operators from several African and European countries took part in the 5th edition of the International Festival of Saharan Tourism, organized from December 9 to 11, 2022 in the pearl of southern Algeria: Ghardaïa. Initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts, in partnership with the host city, this international event aimed to promote innovative tourism products aimed at Algerians and foreign tourists. On the program, cultural activities, arts and sports were offered to the public on the sidelines of the festival, including a craft exhibition and a presentation of the culinary arts of the region.
“We have assets and enormous natural, cultural, architectural and tourist potentialities with which the thousand-year-old Ksour of southern Algeria abound to make Algeria a flagship destination for tourism respectful of culture and the environment and an essential tourist destination. of which several sites are classified as world heritage”, underlines Yacine Hamadi, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts during his speech.
Listed as world heritage sites, the sites of Hoggar, Tassili n’Ajjer and the Ksour are among the many loss leaders to ensure the attractiveness of Saharan tourism. “The Tassili Hoggar is a cultural and natural heritage that has more than eight thousand years of history,” the minister told the national press. “The great civilization of Tassili testifies to the richness of our millennial history. Algeria has immense potential that extends from the oases in the east, to the dunes of the Saoura in the west, passing through the Ksour of Ghardaïa.
Asked by Arab News in French on the attractiveness of Saharan tourism, Sofiane Lesage, founder and general manager of Riwaya Travel, explains that the trend of global demand is moving towards eco-responsible tourism and, as such, Algeria offers a multitude of destinations still unexplored . “Saharan tourism is an excellent loss leader to promote the Algeria destination as a whole. On the world market, each country has a flagship destination such as Petra in Jordan, the pyramids for Egypt or AlUla for Saudi Arabia.
Séfar, the largest troglodyte city in the world
For Sofiane Lesage, the flagship product of the Algerian Sahara concerns the Séfar site, a mysterious city of the prehistoric era, located in the heart of Tassili n’Ajjer, more than two thousand kilometers from the capital. “Sefar is the largest cave city in the world. It has a unique treasure in the world, the largest open-air museum inand the Neolithic era, composed of more than fifteen thousand cave drawings and paintings; of the rock engravings which represent scenes of daily life, hunting, some of which date back more than twelve thousand years.
“More and more visitors are discovering the civilization of the Tuaregs, a population known for the generosity of its welcome and its desire to share its tribal culture.”
“This city was not accessible to tourists for four decades. From now on, more and more visitors discover the civilization of the Tuaregs, a population known for the generosity of its welcome and its desire to make known its tribal culture. He thus cites the annual Sebiba festival in Djanet, which welcomes tribes from Algeria, Libya, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso and which deserves to be discovered by local and foreign tourists.
For’ensure the preservation of historic sites, Sofiane Lesage pleads for “the introduction of a state tourist tax which would make it possible to involve tourists in the rehabilitation of national parks”. He gives the example of access to classified sites such as Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. For him, it is necessary to put in place these measures to catalog and organize trips to the south in order to avoid the deterioration of sacred landscapes and graffiti on the sites.
Finally, to promote Saharan tourism, which attracts thousands of Algerian and foreign tourists, an air link between Paris and Djanet was inaugurated on December 17, 2022, in partnership with the French tour operator Point Afrique Voyages.
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The 5th International Saharan Tourism Festival: discover the Hoggar, Tassili n’Ajjer and the Ksour
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