The West African country of Senegal is determined to build a strong tourism ecosystem that is hinged on health safety and security, infrastructure and creating an enabling environment for sustainable investments into the sector.
This is according to the Secretary-General of Senegalese Agency for Tourism Promotion, Mamadou Diallo. Speaking to VoyagesAfriq at this year’s FITUR in Madrid, he said their presence at the tourism trade show was to let the rest of the world know about the resilience of the country as a destination.
“We want to show Europe, Asia, South America, and the rest of the world that Senegal is a safe and secure destination in terms of sanitary and security issues,” he said.
Underpinning this is the strategic alliance Senegal has recently initiated with some renowned global travel and hospitality brands to establish their presence in the country.
Diallo divulged: “We’ve signed with Tui Travel and Real Hotels Group to manage and construct complex hotels in Senegal which shows that the country is safe and it shows the diversity of products Senegal has got and that people are confident of the destination.”
Diallo also emphasized the government’s investments in infrastructural development to boost tourism. “The government of Senegal has invested in different infrastructure in transportation, roads, hotels and all these infrastructures that are the first condition to attract tourists. Various institutions and agencies of the state are joining forces to promote destination Senegal,” he stated.
According to the Secretary-General, “Senegal occupies a strategic position in Africa because it’s about five hours from Europe, six hours from the United States and with the new Air Senegal with new aircraft, we just want to show to the world that Senegal is open to the world.”
On the MICE front, Diallo mentioned that their objective is to hold more regional and global events as they have the capacity to do so. To this effect, he said Senegal has set up a convention bureau and had contracted South African experts to help them build a robust MICE sector.
Perhaps one of the positives of the COVID-19 pandemic was to allow Senegal to turn attention to domestic and regional tourism.
“The COVID situation made us understand that it was very important to promote domestic and African tourism. The proof is that some travellers and tourists from Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and from the sub-region came to Senegal to spend their vacation because they couldn’t go to Europe or any other place. And this made us rethink our way of doing things strategically and that confirms that domestic and regional tourism is very important too,” Diallo explained.