Classifieds 50% off, use promo code FBkpkPromo The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Tiny Benin looks to tourism to boost economy

BENIN: With its palm tree-lined beaches, unique heritage and wildlife parks, Benin can hold its own against the best African holiday destinations.

transport, tourism, culture,


AFP

Saturday 11 March 2017, 04:00PM


The museum at the small Beninese coastal town of Ouidah. Photo: Stefan Heunis/AFP
The museum at the small Beninese coastal town of Ouidah. Photo: Stefan Heunis/AFP

But tourism revenue accounts for just 0.7% of gross domestic product and there were only 240,000 visitors in 2014, according to World Bank figures.

That compares to an average of one million visitors a year in Senegal, which is one of the most popular destinations in West Africa.

Now Benin’s government wants to change the situation.

“We’ve got 200,000 people without doing anything. Imagine what we could do with a bit of effort? We could double that,” said the head of the national tourism agency, Jose Pliya.

The agency, which was set up several months ago, is the focus of President Patrice Talon’s new drive to boost tourist numbers and as a result the wider economy.

“Our aim between now and the end of (Talon’s) five-year term is to reach 700,000 tourists,” Pliya said.

Some 600 billion CFA francs (B33.95 billion) will be pumped into the sector over five years, notably through a World Bank loan.

In his small office in the former Portuguese fort of Ouidah, the head of the town’s museum, Bertin-Calixte Biah says it is an “unprecedented effort” and is happy that the state is finally putting in the money.

“We’ve got to take stock of our heritage, train guides, put in place a policy of cultural promotion... It costs a fortune,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said he was “waiting to see the pledges become a reality”.

Ouidah is a small town on the Atlantic coast and a former West African slave port to the New World. Under the government’s new plan, it will be the country’s tourist hub.

The town has the same Portuguese colonial architecture as Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, but it is more worn.

Ouidah’s beaches, however, stretch for miles and there are villages dotted around the lagoon, colonial-era forts as well as a strong culture of the voodoo tradition.

It is also the home of sub-Saharan Africa’s first museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary African art.

Groups of Germans, Belgians, Italians and French come to Ouidah to take photos of themselves with pythons wrapped around their necks, unclear whether they should be terrified or enjoying it.

“Don’t worry,” says the guide. “They’re sacred. They won’t do you any harm!”

The head of the town’s tourist office, Modeste Zinsou, described the town as “a living museum”.

“Tourism has a direct economic impact on the population. It pays for hoteliers, but also villagers, canoe drivers and fishermen. The problem is that Benin is not very well known.”

One of the main problems facing Benin is getting there in the first place.

The government has in response lifted visa restrictions for citizens of 30 African countries to encourage business travel from across the continent.

“As a general rule Africans don’t do leisure tourism, which is a lot more Western,” said Pliya.

“Now our aim is change the situation, so those who are business travellers will spend a day or two at leisure. We want to create new tourists.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

Jor12, I must say, I am impressed, now you say you know the mindset of all these "penniless" backpackers, as well as their level of "in...(Read More)


Stranded sea turtles give Phuket lifeguards an extra job in monsoon season

Really sad state of affairs with marine management. When is the Marine Office going to get off their ass and go have a chat with these ignorant fishi...(Read More)


Canadian expat Muay Thai fighter found dead of suspected hanging in Patong

OzGeoff ... Given the time of the article (Monday 24 July 2017, 05:29PM) and the publishing of the comment (25 July 2017 - 13:08:00) it is safe to say...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

Paully44...I have comprehended well and replied cogently to your incorrect statements. I am not really concerned about your opinions of me as they are...(Read More)



Canadian expat Muay Thai fighter found dead of suspected hanging in Patong

"* The Phuket News is withholding the man’s identity until it has been confirmed that his next of kin have been notified." Then why pub...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

Jor 12; for such a "wordly" figure such as yourself how is it you cannot comprehend a simple comment / point of view in direct contrast to y...(Read More)


4.2mn meth tabs, 26kg crystal meth, 40kg ketamine seized

Excellent, if only the traffic police were as good!...(Read More)


Canadian expat Muay Thai fighter found dead of suspected hanging in Patong

Matthew Richardson was a gentleman Canadian who lived and breathed Muaythai, who chose to live and train in a foreign land whose culture and people he...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

BenPendejo...it's is precisely the point given that you say, "...me shining yet another light on the fact that the BIBs are corrupt to the ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.