Published on : Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Among the best known African holiday destinations, Benin with its palm tree-lined beaches, unique heritage and wildlife parks, deserves special mention. However, according to the World Bank figures, tourism revenue in Benin accounts for just 0.7% of the GDP with only 240,000 visitors in 2014. That compares to an average of one million visitors a year in Senegal, which is one of the most popular destinations in West Africa.
The government of Benin aims to change the country’s tourism scenario. According to Jose Pliya, head of the national tourism agency, “We’ve got 200,000 people without doing anything. Imagine what we could do with a bit of effort? We could double that. Our aim between now and the end of (Talon’s) five-year term are to reach 700,000 tourists.”
Some 600 billion CFA francs ($968 million, 913 million Euros) will be invested into Benin’s tourism sector over five years, possibly through a World Bank loan. 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. It has Portuguese colonial architecture and beaches stretched for miles with colonial-era forts. It has strong culture of the Voodoo tradition.