Interview: Amar Ghoul
What are the main objectives that are outlined in Algeria’s tourism development plan?
AMAR GHOUL: Algeria’s tourism strategy is defined in the Master Plan for Tourism Development 2030. This strategy aims to lay the foundations for the emergence of Algeria as a tourist destination. The tourism sector currently accounts for 2% of GDP, but it is projected that by 2030 it will contribute 10% . Algeria boasts a rich and diverse heritage and great natural potential, and the country continues to experience major infrastructure improvements. Incentives in place to ease access to land and financing for tourism development. The hotel segment is also important and it’s growth needs in the medium term are estimated at 500,000 beds for the different categories combined. We are trying to draw interest from investors across the whole of the hospitality value chain to bring their expertise.
How can human resources and training in the tourism sector be improved?
GHOUL: One of the major challenges currently facing tourism in Algeria is that quality depends essentially on the qualifications of our human capital. A strategy has been put in place for training, using 214 institutions, four of which are institutions under the Ministry of Tourism, 150 under the Ministry of Professional Training and 60 private institutions. The strategy seeks to modernise management techniques in the tourism sector, identify future needs and improve the geographical distribution of training institutes.
What can be done to build and promote a “Made in Algeria” label in the handicrafts segment?
GHOUL: Algerian handicrafts are an indispensable and essential part of tourism, given their capacity to generate jobs with minimal capital and their ability to withstand economic fluctuations. There are numerous benefits to promoting a “Made in Algeria” label. It helps to strengthen the country’s positive image, as well as promote recognition and identification of artisanal products made here. It also raises awareness among domestic consumers to the benefits of buying crafts from Algerian artisans and increases the strength of the commercial sector, as well as the value of these products. Improving quality also remains a central concern in our approach.
What are the main priorities for developing the tourism industry over the next five years?
GHOUL: The National Land Development Scheme passed by Parliament in June 2010 commits the country, for 20 years, to a territorial management strategy that is based on the economic, social and environmental principals of sustainable development.
The first priority must be to develop a diversified economy. We plan to promote a range of sectors including tourism, agriculture, industry, services and the knowledge economy, and these are rapidly growing and aiding the modernisation and diversification of our economy. This is important because it helps to spread growth throughout the country.
The second priority is to address geographical development imbalances by improving the attractiveness of the regions and creating new economic activities. This will also lead to the creation of jobs throughout the nation and strengthen the capacity of the territories to develop a favourable environment for economic growth. It will also bolster human development, which includes education and training.
The third priority is to encourage even more tourism. Tourism plays a clear role with respect to the enhancement of Algeria’s diverse regions. Through the preservation of the natural and cultural capital of our country, it also helps to support Algeria’s diverse identities while meeting the demands of the modern economy. Tourism helps to reconcile local culture and unique traditions with modernity and innovation.
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