Algeria offers a variety of tourist attractions, including heritage sites, the impressive landscapes of the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains, and relaxing beach destinations on the Mediterranean Sea. Visiting Algeria has become increasingly appealing. The country's tourism sector has, however, faced different challenges. As the local economy traditionally relies on the oil and gas industry, the tourism sector has not been sufficiently promoted in the past decades. As a result, Algeria has been the North African country with the lowest number of tourist arrivals in recent years. Moreover, after positive development, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to a global crisis in the travel industry, which also impacted Algeria.
Tourism's value added
The tourism industry moderately contributes to the Algerian economy. In 2021, the sector accounted for around four percent of the country’s GDP, slowly recovering after the 2020 tourism crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, tourism-related industries, such as accommodation facilities, travel agencies, and tourist attractions, employed around five percent of Algeria’s working population in 2021. In absolute figures, this translated into almost 550,000 jobs. While tourism employment gradually improved after 2020, it had not yet reached the pre-pandemic levels of around 630,000 job positions in 2019.
International tourism on the rise
Algeria was the destination of almost two million international tourists in 2019, a number that generally increased from 2015 onwards. However, the number declined sharply in 2020. Around 90 percent of the inbound visitors traveled for personal purposes, including leisure, while the remaining 10 percent entered the country for business or professional reasons. Africa and Europe were the leading regions of origin, accounting for 410,000 and 72,000 international travelers in 2020, respectively. More specifically, Tunisian nationals made up almost 50 percent of the inbound tourism in recent years, followed by French, Moroccan, and Chinese citizens.
Numerous domestic travelers
Domestic tourism is an essential contributor to the Algerian travel industry, as the majority of the tourists visiting the country are domestic travelers. Before the fall recorded in 2020, roughly 3.7 million domestic tourists stayed in hotels and similar accommodation establishments each year. In comparison, the number of international overnight travelers amounted to 850,000 in 2019. The country also profits economically from local vacations. In 2021, the domestic tourist spending amounted to around 5.8 billion U.S. dollars, compared to only 30 million U.S. dollars generated from international tourism.
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