Destinations Northern Africa

Tourism in Algeria Coming Back After Years of Neglect

tourism in algeria
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Tourism in Algeria isn’t as huge as in Tunisia and Morocco despite having amazing sceneries and cultural treasures. However, the Algiers headquartered country is intentional about catching up with her peers in North Africa.

Civil strife in the ’90s took away all the attention to developing tourism. More focus was directed to mending a broken political system. Now, more than 30 years later, the government is keen on making Algeria a popular tourist destination and lessening its dependence on its oil reserves.

What is the Government Doing to Revive Tourism in Algeria?

The Algerian government is staking on the natural beauty the country offers such as beaches, desert mountains, and Islamic and Roman cultural sites. Dunes in the Sahara and unforgettable desert tours on camel rides are also on the table. Further, its proximity to Europe is considerably another unique selling point for tourism in Algeria.

According to National Tourism Office General Director Saliha Nacerbay, their goal is to draw at least 12 million guests by 2030. This is an ambitious plan considering only 3 million tourists were visiting in 2023.

A majority of them – 1.2 million – were diaspora-based Algerians returning home for a holiday. In contrast, her neighbours – Morocco and Tunisia – each welcomed at least 14.5 million tourists in the same period.

Is Algeria a Cheap Country to Visit?

Tipaza in Algeria. Photo/Expedia

The tourism ministry is looking at the traditional travel industry and investors to inject funds into the sector.

Part of the mega plan involves implementing 2000 projects that include the building of luxury hotels, desert lodges and other facilities. The Independent reports that historical sites in 249 locations will be restored. Already, 70 of them are under rehabilitation while more follow.

Nacerbay sold tourism in Algeria during the four-day International Tourism and Travel Fair held in Algiers that ended on June 2.

Is There a Tourism Industry in Algeria?

For a country as large as this with so much to offer, it suffices to say that tourism in Algeria is in the pits. Global hospitality experts blame it on neglect by successive governments and too much focus on natural gas.

Algeria earned billions of dollars from the oil and gas industry between 1960 and the late 70s. This sector was steady until 1990 when political strife robbed the country of success it had made for 30 years.

Years of brokering political truce had focused on the oil industry overshadowing every other sector that would equally generate revenue. Tourism was neglected, as infrastructure and its immigration system all of which matter most to international tourists.

Insecurity repelled both domestic and foreign investors further pushing the tourism sector to an abyss. Nevertheless, this North African nation has managed to return security on every edge and it inspires some confidence in investors.

Statista indicated that some 543,500 tourism jobs were up for grabs in 2021. The number could increase significantly in the next couple of years if the 2000 projects are implemented.

Comparatively, Morocco’s tourism industry has created 700,000 direct and indirect jobs with expectations it will clock 1 million by 2030.

Is There a Tourism Industry in Algeria?

Oran in Algeria is a top tourist destination with a rich cultural heritage. Photo/HotelsCombined

Is Algeria Good for Tourists?

The general geographic outlook is made up of mountains, and cultural and historical sites; the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert make up Algeria’s tourism allure. Also, its heritage is a big influence in the tourism sector.

Berber and Roman influences play a huge role in Algeria’s historical heritage often seen in different sites spread from north to south. Some of the famous historical sites include:

  • Timgad Ruins – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Casbah d’Alger – an ancient fortress

They both have excellent views of the Mediterranean Ocean and untouched beaches ready to welcome tourists globally.  Other popular tourist destinations here include the following:

  1. Algiers
  2. Oran
  3. Constantine
  4. Tassili N’Ajjer National Park
  5. Annaba
  6. Tipaza
  7. Bejaia
  8. Tlemcen
  9. Ghardaia

Is Algeria a Cheap Country to Visit?

Visiting Algeria is affordable compared to other North African countries. The low cost of tourism will attract more visitors in the coming years. However, the costs may change as the sectors grow and competition sets in. Currently, there are only 3.3 million reported to have visited last year and nearly half of them were fellow Algerians living abroad.

The plans by the National Tourism Office to make Algeria a top tourist destination are in top gear. Past efforts to restore security finally yielded fruits and it is great news for Algeria’s economy.

About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.